“Thank You”

Posted on by COYFC

By Joel Fether
“Thank you.”  As the words escaped from Timothy’s mouth they caught me off guard.  I don’t know what I was expecting to hear, but it certainly wasn’t that.  Each year there comes the day when our City Life group has to say goodbye to students who have graduated from school and are now too old to attend.  Students react to this day in many different ways.  Some decide that they want to continue to be a part of the group by becoming a V.I.T.  Others stop coming to meetings the minute we inform them of the cut-off date in an effort to self-protect from the discomfort of having to move on.  Timothy’s reaction was to express gratitude.
 
The account of Jesus healing the ten lepers in Luke 17 draws out some interesting truths about gratitude:  How rarely it is expressed even in situations where it is abundantly appropriate, and how it can sometimes come from unlikely sources.  If I were ever to name a City Life student who would be an unexpected source for gratitude Timothy would be in the running.  He’s been a part of our City Life group for several years, and at times it’s felt long.  He’s given us plenty of trouble over the years, and has served more “suspensions” from City Life than I could recount.  He’s had to sit out for reasons ranging from the mundane -- being disruptive in family group -- to the outrageous -- throwing food or starting a fight. 
 
Despite all of this grossly inappropriate behavior, we’ve continued to try to work with Timothy for two reasons:  As a recipient of salvation through faith in Christ, he has now become a child of God.  And we know that underneath it all Timothy is a very broken young man.  YFC’s first contact with Timothy was in the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center when he was incarcerated.  Upon his release he started coming to City Life and we began to learn his tragic story.  His home life is such a mess that he’s been a ward of the state the entire time we’ve known him despite the fact that his mother and father both live in Columbus. 
 
And so against that backdrop, Timothy’s jarringly sincere “thank you” was deeply touching. Because it showed me that despite the fact that he has a LONG way to go to reach any semblance of Christian maturity, he recognizes that in a significant way Jesus has healed him and for that he is grateful.  
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