De Nada

There is a story told in the Gospel of Luke about ten lepers. I think many of you raised in Sunday School have heard the story. If you attend church a lot, you have probably heard about the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and they all went away. Only one came back to thank Jesus for the miracle. And he was … of all things … a foreigner … a Samaritan … the worst of the worst. Yet he came back and showed gratitude. The account is found in Luke 17:11-19.

I believe it is all too easy to forget the root of our favor when everything is going well. There are some who are too busy for their parents or their children or their spouses when times are great and we are enjoying the fruits of our many blessings. When they are gone, however, either the blessings or the loved ones, we inevitably think of all the chances we missed to enjoy … really enjoy those blessings. I know I have experienced that regret. But today, I will not pass on the opportunity.

Jesus healed ten people of leprosy. Nine of the recently “clean” folks ran off to the priest for their ceremonial stamp of approval, as it were. But one … one single individual … one whose life ahead was still a mystery. Knowing only that he could not fully re-enter society as an equal because of his origins. One whose prospects of a happy life and a full belly were slim. Yet he was the only one to return and give thanks. A short snippet from the life of Christ. Happening 2000 years ago, while echoing a familiar ring centuries later.

While I certainly don’t do what I do for the praise in adoration. Amazingly, while not surprisingly, I have found that those who have less. Those who are acquainted with hardships unimaginable to most of my readers. Those who are the poorest of the poor. Those are the ones who tend to be the most grateful when you are able to help them. This is a story about one such person.

There is a young man who was in one of my English classes. I knew he came from a family that was dealing with unemployment, illness, and constant flux in their living conditions. I invited him to bring his family to one of the feeding days. They showed up and we were able to provide them with some rice, beans, and vegetables. They all thanked me profusely and as usual I smiled and replied “de nada”. We usually will tell folks “de nada” is used as “your welcome”. As it is. However, “de nada” is actually the Spanish for “it was nothing” or “of nothing”.

A few days later the teen returned to my house. When I answered the door, I was in a bit of a rush and I hastily assumed that he wanted more. I explained that I only was able to do this once a week. And that he would have to come back. He politely waited until I through rumbling and bumbling and as it turned out … getting it totally wrong. He had not come to ask for more. He had come to see if I had any work for him to do at my house. I said that I did not have any extra money to pay him. Again getting it wrong! He then said the most remarkable thing. He said that I had already payed him. That I gave food to his mother and family. He said that he wanted to thank me in the only way he knew… trimming some shrubs or watering the plants.

You see… it wasn’t “nada” to him. It meant something. And he was grateful.

I just want you to know that I thank you all for the support and prayers you give to me. I want you to know I am thankful for your partnership in this endeavor. That it is not “nada”. It is something very special. Very needed. And most of all, very appreciated.

Do we know what happened to those nine other lepers? Do we even know what happened to the one who came back? No. All we know is Jesus’ reply. “Go, your faith has saved you.”

So from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your encouragement. We all have been so blessed. And now you are blessing others. And I also pass on the thanks of all those that you have blessed. It isn’t “nada”.

Dios los bendiga


Growing up on the mission field for most of my youth, I never imagined leaving the U.S. other than to serve on short-term mission trips. But, it was on one of those ministry tours to Granada, Nicaragua, that I fell in love with the Nicaraguan people and Uno Mas Ministries began.

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