This season of Thanksgiving we need to reflect on how we regard our ‘stuff.’ Are we selfish? Do we want more? Are we grateful for what we have?
One day Jesus came upon ten men who suffered one of the worst fates in that time – leprosy. Leprosy not only brought physical suffering, it turned a person into a social outcast. A leper was separated from the community, as a means of keeping the spread of the disease to a minimum. The wretch lived as a beggar outside of town, usually near the dump from which he scavenged the scraps that kept him alive! When the ten lepers realized who was approaching, they yelled – “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, their leprosy disappeared.” Luke 17:14 (NLT) Imagine their joy when they saw their skin clearing, all evidence of their leprous condition gone, given the desperate situation in which they lived because of it! Here is the shocking part of the story – “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God, I’m healed!” He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:15-17, NLT) Where are the other nine?
Some of us are so infected with entitlement, feel ourselves so deserving, that we never even consider that we owe the Lord our thanks. Do you think that God paid up because you did some good thing, because you were righteousness enough to merit a reward? What blindness! You know what we deserve? Judgment and condemnation. Scripture reminds us that ‘by nature we are objects of His wrath’ But, mercy is God’s method. The Psalmist reminds us – “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:9-14, NIV)
Are you grateful today?
Does thankfulness overflow from you?
Or is God asking, “where is the gratitude, where is the recognition of My mercy?”
Let’s not be absent when it comes to returning thanks. Check your heart to see if entitlement has taken up residence. Found it there? Confess it for the ugly sin that it is. Ask the Lord’s forgiveness and humble yourself by acknowledging this truth – “Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins of the survivors among his people? You cannot stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing mercy.” (Micah 7:18, NLT) Realize, anew, the gifts of kindness and mercy that come your way. Then, liberally give thanks – to God, to friends, to family.
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