In Luke 17. Jesus of Nazareth is traveling along the border of Samaria when ten lepers call out to him asking for a healing. They are all healed and only one returns to say thank you - a Samaritan.
I heard a story recently about a man who was lost in the woods. Later, when describing the experience, he told how frightened he was and how he had finally knelt and prayed. Someone asked, “Did God – answer your prayer?” “Oh no," the man replied, “before God had a chance, a guide came along and showed me the way out.”
You laugh, but we do the same thing. We miss God providing for us each day.
Think about what it would be like if we woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?
- We awake to see the sun shining and don’t give thanks to God.
- We hear the birds chirping, see beautiful flowers and trees, but we don’t give it a moment's thought that God has given us those blessings and given us the senses to enjoy them.
- We turn on the water and never think of how so many in the world don’t have running water, needless to say, hot water.
- We complain about our jobs, forgetting that many would be grateful just to have a job.
- We complain about having to social distance or wear a mask rather than thanking God for our good health.
- We grumble about this virus's inconvenience while others like the lepers in our Gospel story face death today.
To be oblivious to the fact that God is blessing us, or even worse, to take credit for His blessings as if we earned them by your efforts is just as big a slight to Jesus as those nine lepers not returning to say thanks that day. The Samaritan leper is our model for this Thanksgiving Day. It’s important to remember to thank God for our blessings.
But there is a more profound message in this Gospel story. This Gospel message also challenges us to reach out to others. We all have lots of people in our lives that are risking the loss of their soul's salvation because they don’t recognize what God is doing in their lives. By living our lives in gratitude to God, we have the opportunity to witness our faith to those around us like the Samaritan leper did that day.
We who have known Jesus 'healing power in our souls by giving the glory to him with thankful hearts can draw those around us to the Savior. If we live like that exuberant and grateful leper praising God for his blessings in our life, people around us will be attracted to our JOY.
The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful Look closely, and you will find that people are happy because they are grateful. The opposite of gratefulness is just taking everything for granted. Today let’s not take things for granted but realize that everything is a gift.
Let us glorify God this holiday season with a grateful heart.