Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)
Whenever I think of thankfulness, my mind automatically gravitates to this passage. Leprosy was an awful disease that not only ate away, literally, at your body but also ate away your social life - living in isolated leper colonies. It was a feared disease in Jesus day and to be set free from it must have been incredible. The ten lepers that Jesus had delivered had much to rejoice about and be thankful for. But look at the result: only one returned to “praise God” and “thank” Jesus. The only one who returned was a Samaritan who was supposed to be an adversary of the Jews, of Jesus!
Two simple things stand out in this passage that speak to me and help me understand the approach to thankfulness. First, look to God. Give Him your attention and time. That is what the man who returned did. When we put our focus on the Lord and take the time to reflect on what He has done in our lives, (the Big Picture!!!) we become open to a balanced perspective, even when we have problems. It broadens our vision and our scope of what God’s love and grace are all about. It helps us move forward in faith. Secondly, vocalize your thankfulness - “praise Him.” Take time to pray with thanksgiving, take time to worship with thanksgiving, take time to share with others through thanksgiving. Reach out and, if possible, try and lift others up with thanksgiving.
I know, sometimes, it is very hard and at times maybe impossible. We often need time to grieve. It varies with individuals and the intensity of loss, but when possible, with God's strength, we need to rise and venture beyond our circumstances. Remember the importance of our faith, our hope and God’s love as a catalyst in doing that. As Charles Stanley states, “Gratitude produces deep, abiding joy because we know that God is working in us, even through difficulties.” Remember His faithfulness. He will never let us go. He is working through us.
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.
John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.
The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour.”
John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”
Being thankful is an attitude changer (LOL). God bless have a great week.
In His love,