By: Ysrael De la Cruz
Dennis Prager, in his book “Happiness is a Serious Problem” states “There is a secret to happiness, and it is gratitude. All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads people to become unhappy. Become grateful and you will become much happier person.”
We are entering the season of Thanksgiving; a holiday in our calendar to remind ourselves to be grateful. Gratitude does not come naturally; we must learn it. We instill this in our children to always say thank you when someone does something nice to them. We often forget to thank God for his blessings in our lives. When was the last time you showed gratitude toward God?
The gospel of Luke tells us a story of a man who could not thank Jesus enough for the blessing he received. Read text. Luke 17:11-19
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem; He was between the border of Galilee and Samaria. He was going to a village where he was met by 10 men with leprosy. Leprosy in Biblical times covered all infectious skin diseases (bright spot, swelling or boils). A leper was not allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including his own family. Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got better or died. This was the only way the people knew to contain the spread of this contagious disease.
Notice that the ten men with leprosy stood at a distance (v.12). They were not allowed by law to come near a healthy person. They would go around shouting “unclean, unclean” to warn people not to come near. They would remain unclean as long as they have the disease. (Leviticus 13:45-46). Lepers were considered utterly unclean—physically and spiritually
These men called out to Jesus (v.13) “Jesus , Master have pity on us! (have mercy on us)
Jesus told them to see the priests (v.14) “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
Why would Jesus send them to the priests? People with leprosy would only go to the priests to be examined if there was a change in their condition. This command went against their logic. Jesus did not heal them when they met; their condition had not not change. They asked Jesus to have mercy on them and Jesus told them to go see the priests. It did not make sense. However, they did not question Jesus command. They obeyed it. They showed faith in their going to where Jesus sent them, even though they had not experienced any cleansing yet. (Faith is trusting God even when what he says doesn’t make sense to you)
As they were going; the miracle happened (v.14). “As they went, they were cleansed.” Sometimes people don’t receive God’s blessing because they are not willing to go where Jesus sends them. There are people who lose God’s provision because they are not willing to take Jesus as his word. Their miracle happened on their way to go see the priests for examination. They showed great faith in Jesus’ words. They left even though no changed had occurred in their condition. But when they put their faith to action their miracle happened.
Verses 15-16 One of the them when he saw he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. ESV
This man wanted to show Jesus how thankful he was for his healing. He knew the visit to the priest can wait; he wanted to go back to thank the one who made him whole.
Check out Jesus’ point here (vv.17-18)
Where are the other nine?
Was no one found to give praise to God except this foreigner?
Rise and go, your faith has made you well.
Gratitude goes against our nature; it takes effort.
One out of ten showed gratitude. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment that we forget to say thank you. Nine of the ten continued their way to be examined by the priests; but one of them turned back to thank the one from whom the miracle came.
This man, a Samaritan had the right perspective. He returned praising God in a loud voice. Jesus said only this foreigner returned to give praise to God. Sometimes it is the unusual person, the one you least expect that shows the greater gratitude. This Samaritan had the right perspective, his healing caused him to worship God with loud praises. Jesus reaffirmed to him that his faith made him well. (v.19) “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Knowing God changes your perspective in life. It makes you more grateful.
Having a relationship with God will affect everything you do in life. You find yourself being more grateful.
The Jewish nation was told to always remember the LORD. Their provider. They were commanded to never forget the one who fought their battles and brought them to the land of the promise. One of the ways people were always reminded to be grateful was through their offering sacrifices to God. They had freewill offerings, sin offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings. Lev.7:15; 22:29 The book of Leviticus tells you all about these offerings to God. Through these offerings they would thank God for forgiveness, provision, and protection.
King David had the right attitude about gratitude; he wrote so many songs about giving thanks to God. He said, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” 2 Sam.24:24 ESV
The apostle Paul had the right perspective; he was even grateful for his imprisonment. 1 Thess.5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.: NIV
The more you know God, the more grateful you become because he changes your. You will see his hand in everything; you will always return to him in praises for what he does on your behalf. God’s works always caused people to praise and revere him. Do not let your blessings blind you from the one from whom all blessings flow. Do not let the gift blind you from the giver.
Have you thanked God today for what he has done and is doing in your life?
Let’s thank him together.