I woke up this morning with a deep sense of gratitude. It was not triggered by something great that happened to me. It was just one of those times when you just know that you have been blessed and expressions of gratitude just bubble up from within you.
Why is it so important to be grateful? As a father, I often give things to my children without their asking for it. It could be something as simple as stopping on the way home from work to buy them Pizza or taking them out to the movies on a weekend. It gives me a sense of joy seeing their faces light up and afterwards, when they say, ‘thank you dad!’, I know they really appreciated what I did. If as human beings we respond positively to gratitude, how much more does our Heavenly Father respond to the gratitude of His children?
It is so easy to be so overwhelmed with the pressures of daily living that we forget to be grateful. I have learnt never to take each day for granted. I wake up every morning knowing that the day presents an opportunity for me to enjoy what God has in store for me and at the end of the day, as I lay down to sleep, I whisper words of gratitude to God for all that He saw me through during the course of the day. Not every day is filled with happy events but even so, I am grateful for the things I learnt from those not-so-happy events because they make me stronger and wiser too.
In Luke chapter 17:11-19, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem when He met ten Lepers. Leprosy was a condition that affected the skin and anyone who was infected by the disease had to move out of the city to the outskirts. They were not meant to have any contact with the people and if they were walking on a path where they are likely to meet people, they were expected to pronounce that they were unclean so anyone coming would know and give them a wide berth.
As Jesus entered a village, these Lepers who were standing at the outskirts of the village, shouted, ‘Jesus, Master. Have mercy on Us!’ He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. Usually, you only go and show yourself to the priests when you are healed and require the priests to certify that you were indeed healed and could now go back to live among the people.
I wonder what must have been going on in their minds as they went on their way but as they did, they noticed that the Leprosy had left them, they were clean! While the others ran ahead with excitement to show themselves to the priests and get on with their lives, one ran back to Jesus glorifying God with a loud voice. He recognised where his healing came from and came back to show gratitude.
Jesus taught His disciples and us by extension, a lesson in gratitude. Jesus asked, ‘Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?’ It was obviously a rhetorical question aimed at getting the attention of the disciples to the lesson He wanted them to learn. Jesus looked at the man who was obviously now prostrate or kneeling before Him, and told him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well”.
Did it mean the other nine were not healed? I believe they were healed physically but this Samaritan was healed spirit, soul and body. His experience was different from the others who were satisfied with the superficial healing of their bodies and did not feel a sense of gratitude for what Jesus did.
Gratitude is a good virtue to cultivate. When we show gratitude to others for what they do for us, we invoke a sense of joy and happiness in them. When we show gratitude to God, He gives us more than we deserve. The Samaritan only wanted healing for his body, he ended up receiving all-round wellness.
Why don’t you pause for a minute, think of there goodness of God in your life and whisper thanks to Him. The fact that you are reading this right now means you have eyes to see, that is something to be thankful for.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1