Luke 17:11-19 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. (12) And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: (13) And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. (14) And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. (15) And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, (16) And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. (17) And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? (18) There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. (19) And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
In this familiar story, the Lord was very gracious to heal this group of ten lepers, but was very disappointed when only one bothered to return and give thanks; the other nine went on their way, healed – but apparently ungrateful. All received the same blessing, but only one was a blessing back to the Lord Jesus through the return gift of gratitude.
Paul reminded us of what has been called “the forgotten beatitude” – “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35). It is more blessed to be the giver than the receiver.
When I was a child, I looked forward to Christmas, primarily for what I hoped to receive. As an adult and a father, I look forward to Christmas primarily for the joy of watching my children receive their gifts. It is more blessed to be on the giving end. It is a real joy to see my kids enjoying their present – and I sure do like it when they give me a hug and say “thank you!”
However, when there is no gratitude rendered, much of the joy of giving is lost. Jesus should have received thanks from ten men, but only got a tithe of what He deserved – one man’s gratitude.
It’s more fun to give to those who express gratitude. To be sure, we should give whether people are grateful or not (Jesus DID heal the nine), but it is much more enjoyable when people express gratitude. It makes you want to give them more! Conversely, when people are not grateful, it makes us want to give them less!
Is there not a spiritual lesson here for us? God loads us daily with benefits – but do we give Him thanks? Are we grateful – and do we express it? The nine healed lepers may have felt gratitude for their sudden good fortune, but they did not express it to Jesus. Gratitude must be expressed personally, and not just on Thanksgiving Day as we rush to eat our turkey and dressing.
Do we rob God the Father of some of the blessing of giving to us when we do not give thanks daily and for all His blessings? Do we miss out on blessings simply because we are not more grateful? Only the one leper who returned gave glory to God and received the extra word of assurance – “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”
Gratitude is not just an attitude – it is a duty, an obligation, a sign of good character. It is something to be expressed. Do you say “Thank you?” Are you fun to bless?
Just a thought. Thank you for reading and MERRY CHRISTMAS!