“And Jesus answering said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?
There is not found any that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.’" --Luke 17:17, 18
Ten lepers met Jesus one day nearly 2000 years ago as He journeyed south to
Jerusalem. All sought His mercy and were given the same instruction: "Go show
yourselves to the priests." As they obeyed His word, all were cleansed. Yet only one,
a Samaritan, returned to give thanks to Jesus. The failure of the nine to do so
brought the above remarks recorded by Luke. What of the other nine? Were they
grateful for their healing? Or did their joy in the gift cause them to quickly forget the
giver? Yes, it is possible even for those who have received much to take God's favors
Thankfulness, genuine gratitude, is considered a mark of maturity and gentility
among all honorable people. But even then, it remains only a gesture unless it comes
from the heart in real appreciation of the goodness of the giver. The one leper, when
he realized that he had been healed, deliberately turned back to where Jesus was.
Heedless of all about him, he praised God with a loud voice. Falling on his face at
Jesus' feet, he thanked Him publicly. There is a lesson of thankfulness here for all
people. It is not surprising to find numerous scriptural injunctions to Christian
thanksgiving, for all things, at all times, in all circumstances. Indeed, the Christian
life is to be one of thankfulness, for "What have you that you did not receive?" (1
Cor. 4:7). The words in Psa. 107:21, 22 are relevant to every believer in Christ
Jesus: "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful
works to the children of men. Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and
declare His works with rejoicing." The Psalmist associates the qualities of praise,
sacrifice and witness to others with discharging the debt of gratitude.
Causes for Gratitude - The writings of the apostles make it clear that the giving
of thanks is an essential accompaniment to all other aspects of Christian living. But
first of all, there must be a heart of gratitude within, a full recognition of the bountiful
grace of our Heavenly Father and an appreciation of all His gifts. We read in James
1:17 that "every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the
Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." What,
then, of His "unspeakable gift"? How can we adequately thank God for His so great
love in the gift of His dearly beloved and only begotten Son? Surely we can offer
nothing less than lives of thankfulness in every part.
But is it possible to maintain a spirit of gratitude to God always and in every
situation? While it is certainly not in our fallen and imperfect human nature to do so,
the Christian perspective should be a different one from that of the world. One of the
great axioms of our faith is presented in Rom. 8:28: "We know that God works all
things together for good to them that love God, to those who are called according to
Paul's full confidence in God's care for every believer enabled him to declare, "I
have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content" (Philippians 4:11, 12).
He who knows the end from the beginning has at heart the best interests of each
trusting child. Having this blessed assurance helps God's children heed the apostle's
words: "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you
were called to peace. And be thankful. (Col. 3:15, 16).
Every experience of life is working out God's purposes in us. Even the necessary
chastisements are a token of our Father-child relationship. Each experience is to be
received with thanksgiving, as from a wise and loving Father. "In everything give
thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians
5:18). It is God's will that we show forth His praises in lives of inner peace, ready for
all His perfect will. Let us be truly thankful for all that He has done for us in Christ --
for rich blessings already received, and for the even richer blessings still to come.
Our Savior our example - Consider that perfect example of thankfulness in our
loving Savior. He through whom and for whom all things were created, and in whom
all things consist (Colossians1:16, 17), always gave thanks to the Father for the daily
fare He shared with the disciples. He gave thanks for those whom the Father had
given Him to receive of His Father’s Word (Matthew 11:25, John 17:6), and for
answered prayer (John 11:41, 42).
Each one of us has much for which to be thankful. And all His exceeding great and
precious promises are “yea and amen in Christ Jesus.” They are certain of fulfillment
because of the faithfulness of our dear Lord and Savior. How can we be other than a
thankful people when we remain mindful of the riches of His grace to us. Each prayer
should be first an offering of praise and thanks: "Enter into His gates with
thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise" (Psa. 100:4). It has been suggested
that the basic elements of every approach to our Heavenly Father should be praise,
prayer, and petition, with praise, the expression of our gratefulness, having first
Of course our expressions of thankfulness should not be limited to our loving
Father. Let us never take for granted and let pass unnoted the generosity and
kindness of others; it is good to be grateful for all such loving assistance. And it is
important that we let them know of our appreciation. Our quiet sincere expression to
benefactors may be to them a needed tonic of encouragement along the narrow way.
And our spirit of gratitude will be a factor in that character development which God
desires in us. May our lives be lives of thankfulness and praise in every part: first to
our Heavenly Father for all the riches of His grace; to His dear Son, our Savior, who
loved us and gave Himself for us; and towards all whose love and kindness enrich our