“Jesus traveled on toward Jerusalem and passed through the border region between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered one village, ten men approached Him, but they kept their distance, for they were lepers. They shouted to Him, “Mighty Lord, our wonderful Master! Won’t you have mercy on us and heal us?” When Jesus stopped to look at them, He spoke these words: “Go to be examined by the Jewish priests.” They set off, and they were healed while walking along the way. One of them, a foreigner from Samaria, when he discovered that he was completely healed, turned back to find Jesus, shouting out joyous praises and glorifying God. When he found Jesus, he fell down at His feet and thanked Him over and over, saying to Him, “You are the Messiah.” This man was a Samaritan. “So where are the other nine?” Jesus asked. “Weren’t there ten who were healed? They all refused to return to give thanks and give glory to God except you, a foreigner from Samaria?” Then Jesus said to the healed man lying at His feet, “Arise and go. It was your faith that brought you salvation and healing.” Luke 17:11-19 TPT
Have you ever given something of value to someone who never acknowledged you? You literally had to follow through to see if they even received or liked whatever it was that you gave them. How did that make you feel? And what was your response? We are long on receiving but short on gratitude in today’s culture. Children are no longer being taught the act of gratitude. No one says thank you. The next time you go to a restaurant, observe how many people say thank you after being served. The reason for the ingratitude being, “well it’s their job to serve me.”
Saying thank you is no longer an automatic response to someone doing good, rather it’s more like, “what’s the big deal?” But to go from a simple healing to being made whole requires gratitude. In today’s scripture lesson there were ten lepers who cried out to Jesus for healing. They practiced social distancing by staying away, but they recognized the One who had their answer and cried out for mercy. In this instance, Jesus did not touch them as in the account in Matthew 8, rather, He simply told them to go, and as they went they were healed. By telling them to go, it would require them to return and acknowledge what had been done for them.
As we continue reading we learn that one of the ten saw that he had been healed, and returned to worship and give thanks to Jesus. We also learned that this man was a foreigner or non Jew. The object lesson being that the he entitled got what they asked Jesus for, but didn’t see the need to return and say thank you, after all “that’s His job to heal the sick- isn’t that what He’s been touting- ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me.’” “I’m a Jew, He’s a Jew, so that makes us equals. What’s His is ours anyway. Isn’t that what we’ve been living through now for years?” Entitled, spoiled brats. Before the healing they were humble lepers, after the healing they were nowhere to be found.
This one stranger, a Samaritan, returned with humility, joy and gratitude Thanking Him over and over. Jesus asked, “weren’t there nine others, where are they?” This one received the double portion. Not only did he have faith in Jesus, which is obvious now that the others didn’t need faith to be healed, Jesus just showed mercy and gave them what they did not deserve. But this one had believing faith and a heart of gratitude. By returning to acknowledge that kindness had been shown to him, he heard what the nine did not. “Gratitude has brought you more than a miracle, it has brought you salvation, wholeness to your spirit, soul and body.” Verse 19 emphasis mine.
I personally believe that ingratitude is a cancer of the soul. There’s a callousness that develops in the heart that eventually squeezes every ounce of joy and peace from that life. Re-read verses 15-16 again. The others got what they wanted, but this man received restoration. Taking and receiving is not the same thing. We can take what is being given without being grateful, but we cannot receive without showing gratitude. Before my daughter could speak her first words, whenever I handed her anything I’d say the words “thank you” to her, so by the time she could speak, that was her natural response and I would reply, “you’re welcome.” Parents aren’t doing that today. Consequently, children are raised to believe like the Jewish lepers: that they were entitled to their healing. Gratitude opens the door to the supernatural. Gratitude paves the road to success.
If things aren’t going too well lately maybe your gratitude meter is low. The people of Israel had a gratitude problem in the wilderness, and the complainers never made it to Canaan. Some of us grumble while eating a full course meal. You prayed for a better job, God gave you one and all you do is complain about your boss. You pray for healing, God answers and all you do is talk about how sick you were. You pray for a house- God blesses you, and all you do is complain about the mortgage and taxes. You pray…shall I keep going or do you get the picture? Ingratitude is a joy killer. You never see the glass half full always half empty. Look for reasons to be grateful! Recognize that you have been healed, blessed beyond your wildest dreams. Are you breathing? Then bless the Lord! Psalm 150:6
Be that ONE. The one who returns with gratitude, falling at the feet of Jesus. Acknowledging that you’re nothing without Him. Your disease has been healed, you’re not homeless, you’re not a beggar on the street, you’re not on welfare, while everyone else is being laid off you got a promotion. Return and give thanks! While everyone’s business is being shuttered, you’ve got more business than you can handle. Return and give thanks. Your mortgage is paid, your rent is paid, your cupboards and refrigerator is filled. Return and give thanks! And even if none of the above is true for you, still give thanks. In ALL circumstances give thanks! God’s will is being worked out in and for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Just maybe, the thing you’ve been waiting for is being held back because you’re lacking gratitude. You can have all the faith you want, if you’re ungrateful you’ll go from lack to lack. Barely getting by, never having enough. They were all healed as they went. One returned and was made completely whole.
This account of Israel in the wilderness is worth revisiting.
“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” “Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.” Numbers 11:4-6, 18, 33 NIV
Ingratitude is a blithe and a disease worse than any dreaded cancer. God loathes it. We should too. It’s ugly. Coupled with pride and arrogance, it’s a recipe for disaster. Israel is a blessed nation, God favored them, but He made no allowances for ingratitude. He gave them what they asked for, but they never enjoyed it. You may be cleansed from leprosy but your life hasn’t changed. Your skin may be clean but your heart is still sick with ingratitude. Be the one who returned to acknowledge the gift. Learn the art of being thankful and you’ll receive the double blessings. I’d rather lack everything and have the joy of the Lord than be full without it. Don’t be like the nine, take a walk around your home today, take a mental inventory of your life. Isn’t He worthy to be praised? Look at how far He’s brought you. Isn’t He worthy of your worship? Give Him Praise! You may just hear Him say. “Arise and go” your thanksgiving has made you whole.
Father in the Name of Jesus! Forgive me for complaining more than praising and thanking You. You have been so good to me. The psalmist wrote that “Your loving kindness is better than life,” and it is. You daily load us with blessings. Just being alive is reason enough to thank and praise You. I bow at Your feet, returning and recognizing that my prayers have been answered, better than I could’ve asked or think. Thank You for all You continually do for me. In Jesus Name. Amen
Don’t forget to say thank you!
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit