We have short memories in magnifying God’s grace. Every blessing that God confers upon us parishes through our carelessness, if we are not prompt and active in giving God thanks.
– John Calvin
Thanksgiving and gratitude are rare characteristics in our culture today. In this text, only ten percent of these people expressed thanks after Jesus healed them physically. It is the most challenging principle to teach our kids. I remember when our kids were little and someone would give them something, we would always ask the question, “What do you say?” Sometimes with the sweetest little voice, they would say, “Thank you,” then other times, they would look at that person and ask, “Can I have another one.”
I read a story a while back about a mom who was pushing her little boy in the stroller on a beautiful afternoon. Her neighbor was outside, came over, and gave the little boy an orange. The mom asked, “What do you say?” Silence happened for a few seconds, then the little boy replied, “PEEL IT.” No, the mom replied, the answer is “Thank you.”
Our culture does not respond with gratitude automatically. It is not in our nature; we are not hard-wired to think that way. We feel we are entitled. That is Jesus’ point in this text. Jesus asks this question in verse 17 to the one leper that comes back, “Hey, weren’t there ten lepers that were healed? Where are the other nine?” When I hear Jesus ask that question, I see a broken heart. I think about myself and how many times God has blessed me in powerful ways in my life, yet, I have taken the credit, or I did not give Him the thanks that is due Him.
Gratitude flows when we remember our predicament and remember God’s provision. What is my predicament, and what are God’s provisions? Think about this story; what was the leper’s predicament? Death. Guess what? Spiritually you and I were born into sin. What is our predicament? Spiritual death. Man, that is depressing, but I have some incredible news for you. What is God’s provision? Life. God the Father sent His Son Jesus. This miraculous provision paid our sin debt in full and gave us this new life in Christ Jesus. When I reflect on this truth, my heart cannot help but overflow with gratitude.
I Thessalonians 5:18. Would you take a few minutes and write down five things that you are grateful for? Thanking God for the present paves the way for God’s power in the future.