So . . . did you take the time to prayerfully consider the many blessings God has given you this year? Did you take the additional step of writing them down? Without a written record of what God is doing in your life, you will quickly forget so much of it, because we all have a tendency to remember only the difficulties and challenges in life.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I want to encourage you with one of the greatest stories of gratitude in the Bible. Let’s take a look.
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
There is so much to glean in this passage that will strengthen our hearts of thanksgiving to the Lord! The leprosy that afflicted these ten men was a horrible disease that made them outcasts from all of society. They all longed for the comfort of family, the company of friends, and the consolation of their faith, lived out in community with other believers. But this had all been taken away from them because of their malady. In those days, leprosy was a virtual death sentence for those who had it, as the disease slowly ate away at their bodies.
Here is the overarching theme from this passage: From hopeless to hope. And how do we know the ten lepers had hope? We see it clearly in their action toward Jesus. They called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
Scripture does not state that they were expecting to be healed of their disease, but at the very least, they were hoping for some kindness from Jesus. Whatever they were hoping for, they knew enough about Jesus and His ministry that they were sure He was a merciful Master. In spite of their hopeless condition, they still had hope.
Can the same be said about you and me today as the waves of challenge wash over us in life?
Next we see that Jesus told all the lepers to go and show themselves to the priests, an action which was required for them to be restored to society . . . if they were actually healed. It was a test of faith, and all ten lepers went in obedience to the command of Christ and they all received their healing. But only one of them returned to give praise to God. And that one was considered an outsider—a foreigner, a non-Jew. Worse still, he was a Samaritan, and Samaritans were despised by the Jews of that day.
Notice that this leper’s praise for God was uttered in the same “loud voice” as his cry for mercy. Wouldn’t that be well said of all of us . . . that our cries of praise and thanksgiving to God after we received the blessing would be as loud as our cries for mercy and grace before the blessing!
Finally, notice the position this cleansed leper assumes in offering his praise and thanksgiving to Jesus:
AT HIS FEET!
Today is Thanksgiving. And with so much to be thankful for, perhaps a little time at the feet of Jesus would be time well spent. The proper place for “thanks-living” is always at the feet of Jesus. This healed leper knew it. Mary—who sat at the feet of Jesus while sister Martha bustled and fussed in the kitchen—knew it. May we know this truth too, and may we live it out with a heart of thanksgiving as we sit at the feet of Jesus.
One final point to consider this thanksgiving season: This cleansed leper was more thankful for his Healer than for his healing. His heart beat more for the Giver of this great gift than the gift itself. Are you like that? Am I?
May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving . . . and may it be spent rejoicing at the feet of Jesus!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!