“When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back. He praised God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” Luke 17:15
On this week of Thanksgiving, especially with our tumultuous and uncertain times, I have pondered the meaning of gratitude and thankfulness. Sure, we say we’re thankful, but do we mean it? And how do we show our thankfulness?
In the Gospel of Luke Jesus healed 10 lepers. He told them to go and show themselves to the priest, that way they could be reintroduced to society. All 10 left. Eventually one stopped, turned around and went back to Jesus. Why? Because he wanted to say ‘Thank you.’ Something even more miraculous happened that day. Something other than Jesus healing the 10 lepers. Jesus asked, “Were not 10 cleansed? But where are the nine?” Even though Jesus asked the questions, he already knew that answer. Only one came back to thank him. Only one came back to worship him and to give him honor. What Jesus did next is an excellent example of how he responds to thankfulness: “Arise, go thy way: thy faith has made thee whole.”
See, Jesus cleansed and healed all ten lepers, but with the one who came back, he went a step further and made him whole. That means he restored him completely. No missing limbs, no limp, nothing to show that this Samaritan used to be a leper.
Two things here: thankfulness requires action, and true thankfulness moves the very heart of God.
- We can say we’re thankful, but is our life a reflection of a thankful heart? Based off of Scripture, a thankful heart takes time out of their day to honor and worship God. Worship is more than just lip-service. It’s honoring him with our lives, and following the Great Commission. I’d argue that a thankful heart cannot be bitter, cannot be negative, cannot be full of strife and conflict, cannot be full of manipulation and lies, and cannot be mean-spirited. A thankful heart realizes the blessings and favor of God and desires to bless others as they have been blessed. A thankful heart cannot be selfish but wants to give back. A thankful heart cannot be entitled or spoiled or arrogant. When the cleansed leper dropped at the feet of Jesus and worshiped him, he did so with a humble heart.
- When you are truly thankful, and your life’s action reflects that gratitude, it moves the very heart of God. When Jesus asked where were the other nine, he already knew the answer. What he was doing was showing those around him that it did not escape his notice that only one came back. Think of how you feel when someone gives you a genuine thank you. Think of how you feel when someone honors you publicly. It warms your heart. It makes you feel valued and appreciated. We are made in the image of our Creator, so how is He any different?
If we want God to start moving in our lives, we need to be thankful and practice it to those around us. Worship God in our thankfulness by being kind and going the extra mile. Worship God in our thankfulness by taking time every day to pray and reflect on His goodness. Worship God in our thankfulness by being the one who runs to Him only to fall at His feet in awe and humility.
I am so thankful today, and I hope my life reflects it. What about you?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving,