THREE THOUGHTS TO TRIGGER OUR THINKING ABOUT THANKSGIVING
The words thankfulness and thoughtfulness are derived from the same root word. Pardon the tongue twister, but how thankful we are depends upon how thoughtful we are about all that we have for which to be thankful. Here are some thoughts from an event in the life of Jesus that might help:
12“And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
13And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
14And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
15And 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.
16And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
17And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.”(Luke 17:11-18)
There are three things you can take a closer look at in this story that are gratitude-enhancing:
FIRST, TAKE A LOOK AT THIS LEPROSY. In the Bible, leprosy is a type of sin. All ten of these men had it (So did you). Read Romans 3:23; 5:12). Compare your condition, spiritually speaking, and before you became a Christian, with theirs. They had (humanly speaking) an incurable disease characterized by defilement, rapid, debilitation and certain death – a perfect description of what sin is and does. So did you. Notice two other things:
Notice the distance involved here: they “stood afar off” (v. 12a). You came into the world as everyone does, separated spiritually from God, because of the curse of sin that is on all humanity. They, just like you, were “without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Secondly, notice the desperation of these men. They were aware of their condition, not in denial about it, “And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (v. 13). Does any of this ‘ring a bell?”
NEXT, TAKE A LOOK AT THE LORD. Notice, in the first place, His consciousness of, and concern for, these lepers: “He saw them” (v. 14a). There was nothing attractive or meritorious about them any more than there was about you, but He had His eye on them and heard their cry. Then, He cleansed them, which is what He always does when people recognize their condition and cry out in faith to Him for mercy. (Isa. 1:18; Ps. 34:6). Anything here sound familiar?
NOW, TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. What Jesus had done brought about a turning point in the life of one of these men; he, “turned back” (v. 15a). A difference was made in his direction, and his first impulse was to get as close to Jesus as he could. He never wanted to ever again be what or where he once was (2 Cor. 5:17). Furthermore his experience with Jesus brought forth a testimony from his lips; he “with a loud voice glorified God” (v. 15b). Does this make you think about the changes that Jesus has made in your own life? Does it stir up your desire to tell others about how good the Lord has been to you?
A SIDE NOTE: We’re given a closing bit of information about this thankful former leper; the Bible says, “and he was a Samaritan.” On top of everything else, and without going into detail, he had things in his life that set him apart in a negative way, even from his fellow lepers; things about him that marked him as being in especially bad shape, things that may have made him think that Jesus would have had no interest in him. But he typifies the truth in the old hymn that says, “Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean.” It was his consciousness of how underserving He was that made him feel and express the thankfulness that he did. Probably the opening words of the fortieth psalm would have been as special to him as they are to some of us today who have been saved; brought from the gutter-most to the uttermost because of His cross and His marvelous grace:
“He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust … ”— Ps. 40:1-4
And, by the way — the other nine lepers? Well, they’re an example of how easy and how common it is for people to neglect to be as thankful as they should be to God, in spite of how wonderfully good He has been to them.
AN END NOTE: The above has been written from a Christian perspective. If you’re not a Christian, perhaps some of these thoughts will impact you in a way that will give you something new to be thankful about this year — and forever. (Please “like,” “share,” this is you can, and subscribe to my blog at thatwemayknow.com).