In this story of Jesus healing the ten lepers, we are reminded that only one “came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him…” (Luke 17: 15,16) It was then that Jesus asked that familiar question, “Where are the other nine?”
One out of ten, or just ten percent of those healed came back to thank Jesus for what he had done. Only one of the lepers truly experienced the joy of Jesus’ healing of his body and came back praising God in a loud voice! He was healed physically, but more than that, he recognized the hand of God at work in his life. As I often like to say, he saw God’s handprint on his life and couldn’t help but turn that back into praise as he threw himself at Jesus’ feet.
Giving thanks is not something that is confined to what we do when we celebrate Thanksgiving. Instead, it is a lifestyle that is inexplicably linked to joy and is in reality, a source of joy in our lives. As we recognize God at work in our lives, we are filled with joy, get to know him better and then we too will fall at his feet giving him praise.
As Dustin Crowe says in his book, ‘The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of a Lost Spiritual Discipline’, “Take gratitude out of joy and you don’t have a lesser joy, you lose it completely”. The more you practice returning thanks to God (for that is truly what it is), the more your life will be characterized by the joy of the Lord that Nehemiah called ‘your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10).
How about you? Do you fall in with the other 90 percent that don’t give Jesus thanks for all he does in your life? Or do you more often identify with the 10 percent? The one leper who was so overjoyed that he was praising God in a loud voice and threw himself at Jesus feet? Sounds a wee bit like the crippled beggar that was healed by Peter in Acts 3 who was ‘walking and jumping, and praising God’, doesn’t it? (Acts 3:8,9)
A life of gratitude doesn’t just happen, it is a learned response. Maybe you call yourself a cynic, a pessimist, or even just a realist, but today can be the day that you turn that around and begin instead to look for all who God is and all that he has done for you. Only then will you truly experience the joy that he has in store.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that when I stop to look, I can see your handprint all over my life. Give me eyes to see all that you are and all that you have done for me in every area of my life. Help me to truly live a life of gratitude. Amen
Throughout this Day: If giving thanks is not something that comes naturally to you, start with something as simple as finding a place to record things you are thankful for every day. At first it may be challenging to find one thing, but before long you will find yourself with many more things to write down.
If you need help knowing where to start, may I recommend reading the book mentioned above, [https://www.amazon.com/Grumblers-Guide-Giving-Thanks-Reclaiming/dp/0802419852/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2KOPDEXQAHPI6&keywords=the+grumblers+guide+to+giving+thanks&qid=1697229718&sprefix=The+Grumbler%2Caps%2C252&sr=8-1](‘The Grumbler’s Guide to Giving Thanks: Reclaiming the Gifts of a Lost Spiritual Discipline’), by Dustin Crowe
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