By: Paul Anderson
…you thanked God when tested—and He turned it into a testimony?
…you thanked parents for what they gave and forgave them for what they didn’t?
…couples tossed expectations and chose gratitude?
…you changed your environment with gratitude and started an epidemic?
…you shed your whining, developed gratitude—and found it fun?
A STORY ABOUT GRATITUDE
“Now on his way to Jerusalem…” (Luke 17:11). Jesus had set His face for the showdown. What could slow Him down? Ten lepers. His last miracle in this region. Those who said, “Next time,” lost their chance.
Outcasts in every way, they didn’t dare get close. They knew the rules and cried out: “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.”
One command changed their lives: “Go show yourselves to the priests.” “And as they went, they were cleansed.” Priests were the Department of Health. They needed to act in faith for God to act. It often works that way. They went—it happened. One returned, while nine kept going: “That’s what He said to do.”
“I know, but don’t you want to say, ‘Thank you?’”
That guy was a Samaritan, the least likely to return to a Jew. Jesus asked three questions: “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Jesus expected people touched by love to show gratitude. Saying, “But He told me to go to the priest” doesn’t settle the issue. Who is Jesus waiting for you to thank—parents, a teacher, coach, neighbor, relative, policeman, Holy Spirit?
INGRATITUDE IS SERIOUS
It doesn’t go unnoticed in heaven. It disconnects us from Jesus. While gratitude sets us up for a miracle, ingratitude closes us off. It suggests entitlement. The elder brother said, “You never gave me a kid so that I might make merry with my friends” (Luke 15:29). The last days will highlight ingratitude (2 Tim. 3:2). Don’t you!
Ingratitude sets you on a path toward perversion: “Although they knew God they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).
On the other hand…
GRATITUDE IS CONTAGIOUS
Thankful people are fun. They exude a radiant countenance. Gratitude allows you to receive grace from heaven, because you don’t feel like you deserve it. Think prodigal. Gratitude connects you to the people for whom you express appreciation. If you want to grow relationships, develop gratitude. Works every time.
Far better to join the Samaritan who returned than the presumptuous group who just kept walking.
You are most likely a grateful person. As you read, you may think of areas where you can walk in greater gratitude. Suggestion: try “thank-you” in difficult times and wait for miracles—when you’re being tested, when temptation presses in, when irritation is rising, when pressures at work escalate, when tension at home mounts, when conflict in relationships bring extra tension. Thanksgiving shows that your God overturns evil with good. Hardship either discourages us or forces us to upgrade our confidence in the sovereignty of God.
YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A GRATEFUL HEART IF…
…your prayers sometime don’t get beyond thanksgiving.
…you often reflect on those who have impacted your life.
…you manage to give thanks in the midst of pain.
…you can only stand in awe of a God who has been so kind and faithful to you.