by Rev Nathan
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed,
turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed?
but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
By God’s grace and mercy, we have reached the last day of this year 2017. As a born-again believer, it is a high time for us to spend some time to reflect, how God led me here? how did I reach here? and how am I going to enter into 2018. Hymn writer Jonathan Oatman, Jr, summaries how God has blessed us thus far:
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.”
When we reflect upon our lives, we will soon discover much to prompt our personal gratitude. Thus, it is a time to thank Him for what he has done for us in 2017 and enter into 2018 with heart full of gratitude.
But sadly, if there is one sin that is most prevalent today, it is the sin of ingratitude. God does so much for us. Our indebtedness to him is enormous and yet we rarely or at least infrequently offer thanks for what he has done. In fact, most professing Christians don’t even offer thanks over their meals much less offer thanks over all that God does in their lives. For a child of God, thankfulness is not confined to a day or a season, it is an attitude that we should have every day and every hour. As Saint Paul exhort us to have a heart of thankfulness, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20) and encourages us to give thanks to God in everything, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5;18. Thus, we should cultivate a habit of thanksgiving or an attitude for gratitude.
To expand this point, I want us to examine Luke 17:11-19 the account of the ten lepers in Luke’s Gospel and see some important truths concerning an attitude of gratitude.
I. An attitude of gratitude:
As we see in Luke 17:11-19 that, through divine intervention, those who were lepers were spared from a cruel, lingering death and given a new lease on life. The expressed gratitude by one merited the Master’s blessing, the ingratitude shown by the nine, His disappointment.
As Thomas S Monson says “like the leprosy of yesteryear are the plagues of today. They linger; they debilitate; they destroy. They are to be found everywhere. Their pervasiveness knows no boundaries. We know them as selfishness, greed, indulgence, cruelty, and crime, to identify but a few. Surfeited with their poison, we tend to criticize, to complain, to blame, and, slowly but surely, to abandon the positives and adopt the negatives of life.”
Jean Baptiste Massieu, famous deaf educator, made a statement, “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Indeed, appreciation comes when you feel grateful from the depths of your heart. The head keeps an account of all the benefits you received and gave. But the heart records the feelings of appreciation, humility, and generosity that one feels when someone showers you with kindness”.
II. Receive the Double Blessings: (Verses 15-19),
Here is the key to the whole issue. All were in the same awful position. All prayed and all were healed. Yet only one of the ten returned to offer thanksgiving. Notice:
A. The Opportunity of Praise:
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back. He saw a reason to praise. He saw a difference Jesus had made. He saw a change wrought by Christ. He saw an opportunity to praise God. Many see their need to pray but don’t see their need to praise. They all had reason to praise God, but only one saw it.
B. The Object of Praise
Where are the other nine? I have no doubt that after they were declared clean by the priest they made their way to be with their family and their friends. But one had his priorities in order. One did not get so wrapped up in the blessing that he forgot the blesser. One put family, friends and fellowship on hold so that he could worship the one that made his being with his family and friends possible.
C. The Expression of Gratitude:
G. B. Stern says “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” Thus, the one glorified God with a loud voice. With the same loudness and intensity, he cried for mercy, he glorified God. Many times, we cry loud for help and low with praise. But with the same zeal we sought help we should praise him. And he fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. Yes, he was not a Jew, he was not worthy of this healing. He was not worthy to receive God’s help. But by grace he was healed and he comes to worship the one who unconditionally healed him.
D. The Double Blessings:
He got more than the others did. They received physical healing from a distance. But this one not only received physical healing but he got close to God and worshipped him as Lord and received spiritual healing. God may choose to physically heal a man from a distance but spiritual healing comes only when we fall prostrate before the feet of Jesus Christ and worship him as Savior and Lord. His faith did not save him but it connected him to the one who could save him.
There was a father and mother of a young man killed in the military in a little church. One day they came to the pastor and told him the wanted to give a monetary gift as a memory to our son who died in battle. The pastor said, “That’s a wonderful gesture on your part. He asked if it was ok to tell the congregation and they said that it was.
So the next Sunday he told the congregation of the gift given in memory of the dead son. On the way home from church, another couple were driving down the highway when the father said to his wife, “Why don’t we give a gift because of our son?” And his wife said, “But our son didn’t die in any conflict! Our son is still alive!” Her husband replied, “That’s exactly my point! That’s all the more reason we ought to give thanks to God.” hence, we have every reason to praise and thank Him, for what we are? What we have?
Let us follow the one who came, praised, and worshipped Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude. My sincere prayer is that we may, in our individual lives, reflect that marvelous virtue: an attitude of gratitude,by thanking and Praising God always for everything. Thus, let us enter into 2018 with heart full of gratitude. Wishing you a blessed and abounding New Year 2018 in Christ. May God bless you and your family richly. Amen.