I’ve always been struck by the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17: 11-19. If you’re unfamiliar with that story, here it is in the New Living Translation from Bible Gateway (it’s a short read):
Ten Healed of Leprosy
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
I always wondered … Why did only one leper remember to go back and thank Jesus? Why not all 10? Leprosy was such a shameful, painful and infectious disease during those times that people were considered outcasts.
Wouldn’t they be full of gratitude knowing they were healed and they would no longer be pariahs? They could live and interact with their families again and participate in normal activities of the day and reclaim their lives.
I love that when he encountered Jesus, the leper shouted “Praise God!” and immediately fell at the Lord’s feet.
That’s the type of gratitude and thankfulness I want to have. Recognizing the Lord’s supernatural power and acknowledging His great mercy
Living intentionally recognizes that gratitude is essential in acknowledging, embracing and savoring the everyday simple things that bring us the most satisfaction. Of course it can be big things like what the lepers experienced. But for me, gratitude is filled with an appreciation for the little things such as …
a child’s laughter
a butterfly twirling around your head.
a home-cooked meal
a refreshing drink on a hot day
hearing your favorite song on the radio.
a warm embrace from an old friend
And my list could go on and on.
In his book, Power in Praise, Merlin Carothers writes, “We praise God, not for what we expect will happen in or around us, but we praise Him for who He is and where and how we are right now.”
How can we be like the Thankful Leper?
- Let’s make time for regular reflection and thanksgiving – whether you write in a journal, do Vicky Dobbs’ meditation practice on a Daily Connection with God (audio file) or use the A.C.T.S. prayer model, incorporate gratitude into your daily life.
- Let’s have an attitude of humility – The leper fell at the Lord’s feet and worshipped his creator and healer, a most humble act of worship. The opposite of humility is pride. In fact, I see pride in the other nine lepers, because they accepted their healing, and had no appreciation or thankfulness for Jesus, the healer. They went on their way, and chose to forget Jesus.
How often do I forget Jesus and don’t show Him the gratitude for all of the things He has blessed me with?
A humble heart pleases God, and it’s often during our heart-felt posturing and stance of kneeling at our Savior’s feet that we have the greatest level of gratitude. Knowing God loves a sinner like me who does not deserve the abundant life (John 10:10) Jesus promises to give to those who believe and trust in Him humbles me.
- Let’s teach others the importance of gratitude – I secretly hoped the thankful leper went back and encouraged the other healed lepers to go back and thank Jesus.
For those who are parents, teachers, and in positions of authority, modeling an attitude of gratitude is a wonderful way to influence others by showing them the importance of gratitude.
God values thanksgiving and praise as we give Him the glory for the good works He does in our lives. The Psalms are rich with praise and thanksgiving, and is it any wonder that David, the author of so many of them, had a heart that pleased God? Showing our thanks and appreciation to those in our lives is a wonderful way to encourage and affirm others.
How can you show your gratitude to God and others today? Don’t make it complicated. It can be as simple as the words, Thank you for …
Want to practice gratitude more? Take the Intentional Living 31-Day Challenge. Several components of the challenge involve gratitude and thanksgiving.