The letter from the prophet Jeremiah in Jerusalem to the exiles carted off to Babylon contains some striking instructions from their God. Despite the horrors that these exiles have seen from the rampaging, pillaging, raping, murderous Babylonian army (see image), the words of God actually instruct them to seek the well-being of their captors in the end. They're told three things, but this is the most difficult one to swallow. But it comes in the context of God's continuing promise, a promise that is for God's faithful people, still working despite being set apart from the Promised Land and its holy city Jerusalem.
In Jesus' story in Luke about the ten lepers, all become healed as they follow Jesus' instructions to show themselves to the priests at the Temple. Only one returns to shower his gratitude exuberantly on Jesus for his healing. Jesus questions why this one - a Samaritan "foreigner" no less - has returned to give thanks, but the other nine did not. Jesus' final words to the grateful Samaritan sound odd and out of place. By taking a closer look, we find a weak translation, and can recover the truth of the reward for such gratitude.
Hardship and gratitude seem like unlikely partners, but there is much to learn here, as you'll discover in the sermon video below and from the downloads below the video panel.