Today’s lesson on Gratitude
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Cultivating a Spirit of Thankfulness
From: 1.cbn.com, Author: Dianne Neal Matthews
“Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17b)
Even though we may stuff ourselves at the dinner table, celebrating Thanksgiving can actually make us healthier judging by recent research. Studies have shown that being thankful improves our physical and emotional health. Holding on to feelings of thankfulness boosts our immune system and increases blood supply to our heart. Daily guided exercises or the habit of keeping a weekly gratitude journal can increase our alertness, enthusiasm, and energy, and improve our sleep. People who describe themselves as feeling grateful tend to suffer less stress and depression than the rest of the population.
For all its benefits, gratitude doesn’t come naturally to us. As Jesus passed through a village one day, he was spotted by ten lepers who desperately longed to be healed (Luke 17:11-19). They kept themselves at a distance as required by law but cried out to him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Instead of instantly healing the men, Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest. As the ten lepers walked off to obey, their skin disease disappeared.
One of the men turned around, shouting praises to God as he came back to Jesus. He threw himself at his benefactor’s feet. Jesus expressed amazement that only one man had thought to thank him. “Were not all ten cleansed?” he asked. “Where are the other nine?” He also pointed out that the only man who did respond was a Samaritan, a race despised by the Jewish people.
For Christians, cultivating a spirit of thankfulness is more than a good idea; it’s a direct command from God. In the Old Testament, God laid down specific guidelines for the Israelites to bring thank offerings. In the New Testament, believers are instructed to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When we’re struggling with trials and difficulties, this sounds like a strange command, especially since we live in a culture that encourages us to act on the basis of how we feel. But God knows that when we focus on our blessings, it’s easier to keep our problems and concerns in the right perspective.
King David never lost his keen awareness of all that God had done for the nation of Israel and for him personally. Even though he experienced disappointment, pain, and heartache, David often poured out his feelings of thankfulness to his Creator and Lord. That gratitude became the foundation of his worship of God.
Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness honors God and strengthens our faith. It also strengthens our relationships with other people. We can’t be in a right relationship with God or with anyone without a spirit of thankfulness. No matter what problems we’re struggling with, we don’t want to be like the nine former lepers who forgot to say “thank you” to their Healer.
I will give thanks to you with all my heart, O Lord my God. I will honor you forever because your mercy toward me is great. Psalm 86:12-13 (God’s Word translation)
Ask yourself: How often do I express gratitude to God or to other people?
If you’re a Christian, you probably know that thanking the Lord for His blessings is an important aspect of your relationship with Him. But have you ever considered the different ways this can be done? Gratitude isn’t limited to verbal expressions or prayers but can actually be demonstrated in a variety of ways.
In the Psalms, one of the most frequently mentioned methods of conveying thanks is by singing. Songs can often say what our heart feels but has trouble articulating. As the words from our favorite hymns or praise songs flow from our lips, we are reminded of who God is and the magnitude of His salvation and love for us. And singing isn’t reserved just for church. When we’re filled with gratitude, we may find ourselves humming or singing songs that magnify the Lord wherever we are.
Another way to express gratefulness is by serving God—whether through acts of kindness, teaching Sunday school or Bible study, organizing a ministry, reaching out to marginalized people, sharing the gospel with the lost, helping someone in need, or giving financially. Every one of these can be offered to God with an attitude of thanksgiving for all He’s done for us.
Ultimately, we show the Lord our gratitude through obedience. A holy life flows from a heart filled with thankfulness for God’s grace, mercy, love, and salvation. Instead of living for ourselves and our own pleasures, we’ll want to exalt Christ in all that we do, say, and think. And as we allow God’s Spirit to control us, He will faithfully enable us to live in a manner that is pleasing and honoring to the Lord.
It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15)
Gratitude to God is a joyful emotion. We have a sense of joyful indebtedness for his grace. So in a sense in the very emotion of gratitude, we are still the beneficiaries. But by its very nature, gratitude glorifies the giver. When we feel thankful, we acknowledge our need and God’s beneficence, God’s fullness, the riches of his glory.
Just like I humble myself and exalt the server in the restaurant when I say, “Thank you,” so I humble myself and exalt God when I feel gratitude to him. The difference, of course, is that I really am infinitely in debt to God for his grace, and everything he does for me is free and undeserved.
But the point is that gratitude glorifies the giver. It glorifies God. And this is Paul’s final goal in all his labors. Yes, his labors are for the sake of the church — the good of the church. But the church is not the highest goal. Listen again: “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” All for your sake — for the glory of God!
The wonderful thing about the gospel is that the response it requires from us for God’s glory is also the response that is most natural and joyful; namely, thankfulness for grace. God’s all-supplying glory in giving and our humble gladness in receiving are not in competition. Joyful thankfulness glorifies God.
A life that gives glory to God for his grace and a life of deepest gladness are the same life. And what makes them one is thankfulness.
Streams In The Desert
Thou makest the outgoing of the morning and evening to rejoice (Ps. 65:8).
Get up early and go to the mountain and watch God make a morning. The dull gray will give way as God pushes the sun towards the horizon, and there will be tints and hues of every shade, that will blend into one perfect light as the full-orbed sun bursts into view. As the King of day moves forth majestically, flooding the earth and every lowly vale, listen to the music of heaven‘s choir as it sings of the majesty of God and the glory of the morning.
In the holy hush of the early dawn
I hear a Voice
“I am with you all the day,
The clear, pure light of the morning made me long for the truth in my heart, which alone could make me pure and clear as the morning, tune me up to the concert-pitch of the nature around me. And the wind that blew from the sunrise made me hope in the God who had first breathed into my nostrils the breath of life; that He would at length so fill me with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that I should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein my own life, only glorified infinitely.
What should we poor humans do without our God’s nights and mornings?
“In the early morning hours,
‘Twixt the night and day,
While from earth the darkness passes
“Then ’tis sweet to talk with Jesus
In thy chamber still
For the coming day and duties
Ask to know His will.
“Then He’ll lead the way before you,
Mountains laying low;
Making desert places blossom,
Sweet’ning Marah’s flow.
“Would you know this life of triumph,
Victory all the way?
Then put God in the beginning
Of each coming day.”