“Were there not TEN….?”
WHY Gratitude is a must for all believers
Have you already many times today, looked up and said, “THANK YOU for….” We all enjoy acknowledgements of gratitude, so how are we doing in terms of being grateful people ourselves? It’s easy to be grateful for what we see as good things, but all too often we even miss those opportunities. There’s the remarkable story in Luke 17:11-19 about ten lepers who were healed as they obeyed, and headed to see the priests. One, just one, of the ten healed lepers was so grateful that he immediately had to go back to Jesus (Yeshua) and loudly proclaim his profound gratitude. Last year my wife and I toured an old leper colony island called Spiralonga in Crete. What sad lives once walked those hills. Lepers were outcasts because of their feared physical disease. In Luke’s story, they cried out to Yeshua as they “stood afar off”. Leprosy would make a person’s body look like something was eating away at it. Disfigurement, abandonment by friends, and isolation all preceded the eventual death. What a gift this leper had been handed by our Healer. Let’s pick up the story in Luke 17:15-19.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" 19 And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well."
This is not just a cute story but for our admonition too. We can almost feel His disappointment. But not just because they couldn’t take the time to thank HIM, but more likely because He realizes that lack of gratitude hurt them more than the One who should have been hearing their ecstatic thank you”. There’s a book titled “The Art of Gratitude”, a compilation of articles. I recommend it.
WHY is it so important to make it a habit to be grateful – every time, every day, all the time? I thought about it for a while and came up with these points. There are so many. Why don’t you come up with ten more reasons of your own?
· Grateful people are just happier people and easier to be around. Ungrateful people are more likely to be sour, dour, and certainly seem less happy.
· ONLY grateful people will be able to obey the commands to “give thanks in everything” (1 Thess. 5:18) and “for all things” (Eph. 5:20). (That almost elicits a “duh” response, right?). But this is actually a huge point. It’s called the sacrifice of praise, the giving of thanks in all things (Heb. 13:15). How on earth are we going to “give thanks” for all things unless we’ve made giving of thanks a habit? I preach to myself. I’m still working hard on this point myself. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well (although we just read an example of nine lepers who couldn’t express gratitude even for that!). The real test is gratitude when things appear to be going badly.
Especially when things appear to be going badly, people of faith realize we have a great Shepherd overseeing His flock and everything is happening for a lot of good reasons. That’s why I say “appear to be going badly”. And for that, we will be grateful. Paul even says we should be giving thanks for ALL men (1 Tim. 2:1).
· People of gratitude will therefore also be people more at peace with life. They’ll be at peace with other people, even with their enemies. They’ll be able to practice being at rest with Yahweh and all He sends and allows in our lives. Related to peace is trust. Grateful people will also tend to more likely be people of strong faith, who trust their Maker and all He is doing.
· Grateful people will therefore also see life in positives, and see so much more to be grateful for than the dour souls who always see the worst in life. See Prov. 18:14. Grateful people are more positive and happier. These tend to be people who have a ready smile. I admit, this is something I’ve had to work at. I like everything working right, working smoothly, no hassles – and can get irritated when they don’t. I’ve found when I practice gratitude, it’s quite alright for things to not always go as planned. In fact, it makes life more interesting.
· I suspect grateful people will be far healthier in the long run too. Stress, anxiety, ingratitude, negativity and bitterness just feed disease. The Proverbs are full of examples of how a merry heart and a grateful person make for healthy hearts and healthy bones and a longer life (Prov. 15:13; 17:22; 12:25).
I could go on and on. The point is simple: find the moments when you’ve had your “leprosy” healed. Look for ways to just start saying “thank you” to at least 10 people a day, and at least 10 times a day in short “thank you prayers” to your Maker. Write an email of gratitude once a day to someone who impacted you. Call someone once a week just to say “thank you” for all they do. Most of all, thank our amazing Father and Savior.
The cool breeze on a hot day –thank you. The beautiful butterfly that just fluttered into your consciousness – thank you. Your husband or wife – thank you. Your children and grandchildren – thank you. For being single – thank you. For being married – thank you. For being alive another day – thank you. Thank you for my good health. Thank you for the test of poor health. Thank you for my parents. Thank you for my dead parents whom I’ll see in the resurrection. Thank you for my job. Thank you for the test of faith and peace when I have no job. Thank you for my many friends. Thank you for those who despise me. Please help me to love them even more.
Either way, in all things and for all things, thank you Abba, thank you Yeshua.
How about in this season right after Passover and all that it means? Thank you, Abba, thank you Yeshua. Wow, you’re just amazing. Again and again. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you for inviting us to be part of your first fruits children. Thank you for your Spirit. Thank you for your grace, for your love, for your forgiveness, for your patience with us. Thank you for not dishing out to us what we deserved. Please Yahweh, help us become more like you. We do appreciate you so much, Yahweh. And Yeshua, our Savior: you’re just the best. This time of year right after Passover, we applaud you, love you, and we appreciate you more each year. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“Were there not ten?” I sure hope He’s not asking, “Were there not scores of thousands”.
Thank you Abba for the story of the Samaritan leper who came back to worship and say thank you.