Return to Give Thanks
Jesus and the Ten Lepers
The Bible tells us that Jesus came upon a group of lepers when traveling through the area of Samaria and Galilee on His way to Jerusalem. The lepers cried out for help when they saw Jesus, and their cries for help did not go unheard. Jesus, having compassion on them, healed the lepers of their disease. He told them to go before the Levite priests to show themselves as clean.
Leprosy was a dreaded and deadly disease in the Middle East during the time of Jesus Christ. According to Jewish Levitical law, lepers were to live in isolation outside the city, and they were not to come in contact with any “clean” person. They can have contact only with each other, because theirs was a life of uncleanness. In order to return and live a normal life in society, their only hope is for the Levite priest(s) to declare them as “clean”. After Jesus cleansed them, the lepers journeyed to the priests, in faith. And so it was, as they were traveling, that the disease left them. The Levite priests confirmed they were well. Of the ten lepers that Jesus healed, only one took the time and energy to return to find and thank Jesus for what He had done.
Same is true with us. We cry out to Jesus for anything and everything. Jesus heals us of our emotional, spiritual, and physical diseases. Yet how often do we return to thank Him? Like this one leper, we must return to give thanks. It is so easy to cry out to God when we are in pain, or when disaster strikes us and we don’t know what to do. We turn to God and ask Him to help us and heal us. And God always hear us and answer us, sometimes instantly or sometimes progressive. When we are already surrounded with prosperity and good health, we tend to be so busy, simply enjoying life and so caught up with what we are doing that we forget to return to God to acknowledge His gifts. The one leper who returned was a Samaritan -- the least likely to come back to Jesus because there were cultural barriers between the Jews and Samaritans. But the leper did return. Nothing held him back. Let us not also be held back by anything. Let us always make the effort to have a grateful heart before our Lord about anything and everything and make it on our every waking moment.
“... giving thanks always and for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:20)
Endless Reasons to Give Thanks
This bible story tells us much about gratitude. Giving thanks is not just spent for one day, like on Thanksgiving Day. We have a lot of reasons to be thankful every single day. It is nice to develop an attitude of gratitude for Thanksgiving, but it is better if we make gratitude a habit. It would also be best if we keep a gratitude journal where we write down all things and blessings we are grateful for. We could start with the positive ones. But we should not also forget about the negative things that happened in our lives, because somehow, good still comes out it and sometimes gives us a reason to be thankful for. I remember doing this years ago, and as I reviewed my list, it was giving me a sense of satisfaction, gratitude, joy, peace, knowing that life is really good, after all.
I start mine with “Thank You, Father, that…”
"I made it through long distance travels safely."
"I'm grateful that I have friends and family who care about me."
“I am thankful of all the good things that happened because something bad happened first.” My best example for this:
If I hadn't been laid off from my job, I would not have gotten a better job. Now, this new job became the turning point in my life. A lot of good came out of it. I met new people, some of whose lives I’ve touched, and some I’ve learned lessons from and these lessons taught me how to become stronger than ever, etc. All good and positive things, you name it.
I am ever grateful that I was also healed many times of any kind of sickness over the past years since I was a child. I survived. Therefore, I am grateful that even at my age now, I am still able to do a bit of strenuous exercise, walk around, dance and even run with great stamina.
I learned to focus on what I have, not on what I do not have. For example:
I have an old clunker car, but I am thankful “I have a car to drive” that lets me go from point A to point B easily and conveniently. If I needed one that’s reliable and roadworthy to go places, especially for long driving, I just rent one for that purpose. Thank God also that I have an income that lets me pay for that.
I think about people I've known and I am thankful for their existence. My family, friends or simply people who have created things that I enjoy. And there are more of these people I have to meet yet!
I am also grateful that there are people who have made life hard for me. I accomplished things because of them. Problem people came into our life so that we may learn something from them. Yes, even the negative forces in our life can be hidden blessings. Obstacles and challenges not only make us stronger and help us achieve what we aim for. They are worthy of thankfulness as they provide us opportunities to succeed.
I am grateful of having the opportunity to love and take care of a pet animal. There were times they have given me joy and consolation.
I am thankful that I have been to places and exciting cities that I have never imagined or dreamed I could go to.
There are endless reasons and opportunities to be thankful! I could just go on and on.
When I lend a hand, there is also somebody who lends me his/her hand. When I give someone a friendly greeting, it can also make a difference. When I freely give, I freely receive. And in the process of paying it forward, I discover more reasons to give thanks!
I am passing this on.