Responding with gratitude

Sometimes I fail to realize God’s generous blessings, and I move on my merry way without pausing to thank him. I act entitled – yet, I would say I ardently believe in the Lord’s mercy and grace in my life. So, why do I take for granted what’s good in my day-to-day activities and complain about what’s bad?

Go now and present yourselves to the priests for inspection of your disease. They went, and before they reached the priests, their skin disease was healed, leaving no trace of the disease that scarred them and separated them from the community. One of them, the instant he realized he had been healed, turned and ran back to Jesus, shouting praises to God. He prostrated himself facedown at Jesus’ feet. Thank You! Thank You! Now this fellow happened to be, not a Jew, but a Samaritan. 
Luke 17:14-16, The Voice

Sadly, like nine of the healed lepers, I forget my former condition of separation from Christ because of my sin and unbelief. I don’t stop to think about how marvelous my current state of unity with Jesus is through my trust in his love and forgiveness.

If I demand good things and stay frustrated over bad things, I embrace a self-centered faith, which is an impotent faith. True unity in Christ quickly realizes his generous provision and pauses to worship and thank him. Gratitude realizes and responds.

Gratitude realizes and responds.

Jesus describes a group of 10 lepers – ugly, suffering, desperate, and ostracized from society. The Lord, in his love, engaged their deplorable situation and offered them healing and hope. He could have cleansed them on the spot, but instead instructed them to make their way to the religious leaders, so all involved could experience a fresh work of God. Their healing required faith and obedience.

Along their way to meet the priests all 10 were healed, but only one, once he realized he was beautifully restored, hurriedly went back to thank Jesus. Shouting praises to God, he ran back to Jesus, falling at his feet in grateful worship. Why just the one? Perhaps, his lesser status as a Samaritan constantly reminded him of his humble condition, so he was honored to honor Jesus. It reminds me of what the Psalmist said:

But as for me, afflicted and in pain – may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:29-30, NIV

Has the velocity of life numbed you into not remembering to thank God for his small blessings and large life-giving opportunities? Your little things may be someone else’s big things, like a hot shower, new clothes, a comfortable home, or a modest bank account.

Say a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for the small blessings you have that seem large and elusive for most of the world. What about the big gifts from your heavenly Father, like physical health, growing relationships, spiritual wealth, emotional healing, and vocational fulfillment? Don’t wait until these gifts from God are gone or in transition before you pay attention to them. Like a grateful farmer thanks the Lord for rain, sunshine, and good soil, praise God for his showers of blessings.

Always realize your needy condition for Christ’s grace, mercy, and healing. Remember what it was like before he healed your heart by his love and forgiveness: you were lost without hope. Praise God that you are now saved, secure, and have hope in your heavenly Father’s generous love and grace.

Stop. Drop to one knee in praise and thanksgiving even though society may see you as strange because of your high moral standards and trust in a man who rose from the dead.

Leverage your distinction to direct them to your Savior Jesus through your grateful words, generous giving and loving life. The humble are quick to thank God and others for lavish blessings.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15, NIV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise you for healing my heart and for feeding my soul with your love and the truth of your Word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Application: What is one thing you can thank God for each day of your life?

Related Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:34; Ezra 3:11; Philippians 1:3

Photo: Debbieudson, Unsplash

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