Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Express Gratitude


Do You Consistently Thank God for His Blessings?

Ten lepers were healed by Jesus, because they begged Him to. They said, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us” (Lk 17:13).  Their healing was a big deal because leprosy was a big deal in Israel.  The law required lepers to be kept in isolation due to the possibility of spreading to others.  They were considered unclean (Lev 13:45-46).  When a leper was cleansed from leprosy, he had to be officially declared clean by the priest before he could have any kind of contact with the rest of society.

Imagination cannot capture how excited these healed lepers must have been at the thought of being able to go back home and be part of their communities again.  In fact, in their excitement, they neglected to thank the One (Jesus) who had healed them. The only exception was a Samaritan (a foreigner).  He returned, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him (Lk 17:14).  Jesus’ response was, “Weren’t all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Lk 17:17-18)

The Samaritan might have returned because he realized that it was only by grace that he had been healed; after all, he was not a Jew and could have been turned away.  Jesus could have answered him the way He answered the Canaanite woman who had the demon-possessed daughter: “it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (Mt 15:26), but He didn’t.  So the leper had a good reason to be overjoyed and thankful!  The Bible does not mention why the other nine did not return to give thanks, but could it be that they took things for granted?

Do we as God’s children take things for granted when we receive a blessing from Him?  Do we act like it is our right, and that God owes us something?  I think we sometimes do, but judging by the story of the lepers we can accurately conclude that God expects us to express appreciation and gratitude to Him for whatever He does for us.  He does not owe us anything, and is not obligated to do anything for us, but He does because He wants to.  The Bible says He longs to be good to us.  The least we can do is to be thankful. 

I believe we all do fail quite often in the area of thanksgiving.  Our gratitude should not only be for things we receive as answers to prayer, but also for all that He lovingly and willingly bestows on us.  I think sometimes we even forget to thank Him for answered prayers; what a shame, what ingratitude.  The Psalmist says, “I’ll bless the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips” (Ps 34:1).  In Psalm 103, he also shows us some of the things for which we need to be habitually thankful.  Let us continually thank Him for his forgiveness, healing, love, compassion, and satisfying our desires with good things.

Let us not act like spoilt, ungrateful children who think it is their parents’ duty to provide for them, and therefore show no appreciation.  Instead, let us express our heart-felt gratitude, and share our experience with others so that they will be encouraged. 

by Pearl Nsiah-Kumi,  RN, CRNC

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