The Blessing of Gratitude

11:09 am thanksgiving

     Are you thankful for your job?  In difficult economic times, you would think that everyone would be thankful for his/her job.  But, a Gallup poll indicated that nearly three-fourths of us with paid positions are “emotionally disengaged” (55%) or “actively disengaged” (16%) from their jobs.  The actively disengaged cost their companies $350 billion each year! (Christianity Today, Nov. 10, p. 47).
     In Luke 17:11-19, Luke relates an event in the life of Jesus where gratitude played a significant role in obtaining a special blessing.  Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.  He was going to attend the Passover Feast toward the close of His personal ministry.  He went through that region northward through Samaria into the southern or southeastern part of Galilee so as to fall in with the pilgrims going from Galilee through Perea to Jerusalem.  As He went, He came to a certain city and encountered ten lepers.  Leprosy was a contagious skin disease which required separation from others.  The group of ten consisted of Jews and Samaritans.  They were united by a common malady.  They were unclean, isolated and hopeless.
     When they saw Jesus, they recognized Him and cried out to Him for mercy.  Jesus commands them to show themselves to the priest–a requirement of the law of Moses to be declared clean.  They were commanded to go before any healing took place!  This was a test of their faith.  They went as instructed and as they went, they were healed of their leprosy.  Faith must be active in response to the commands of Jesus.  No obedience, no blessing!  The blessing bestowed was a miracle of healing.  It meant instantaneous recovery from leprosy.  It was a wonderful blessing.
     One of the ten cleansed, when he saw he was healed, turned back and found Jesus and with a loud voice glorified God.  One effect of leprosy was the loss of the strength of the voice.  When healed, this man, a Samaritan, used his new voice to glorify God.  He also thanked Jesus for the tremendous blessing of healing.  The gratitude he showed was freely given from a humble heart touched by God’s graciousness.  Gratitude reflects a sacred memory of blessings received from God.  The gift of healing could not have been received except by the power of God.  The thanks offered completed the circle of relationship with Christ and so the leper that returned to give thanks receives a double blessing!  First, he recieves a temporal blessing in being healed from his leprosy.  Second, he receives a spiritual blessing of fullness of relationship with Jesus Christ.  When Jesus said to him, “thy faith hath made thee whole,” He meant not only that the man had been healed, but that he had been forgiven. 
     Where are the nine?  The nine had their cure, but the one, a Samaritan, had his cure plus fullness of relationship with Jesus.  “Temporal mercies are doubled and sweetened to us when fetched in by the prayers of faith (be merciful to me) and returned by the praises of faith (gratitude)” (Christianity Today, Nov. 10, p. 49). 
     Gratitude completes the circle of relationship with Jesus!  Without it, we are nothing but selfish takers.  With it, we are humble recipients of God’s blessings desiring fullness of relationship with Him.  Gratitude motives to deeper and richer relationship with God.

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