Summary: Looking at how we can more from grateful to thankful
Becoming a 'Thanksgiver'
November 20, 2016
I remember when Joshua and Zachary would be invited to friends houses and every time they left - - we would remind them to be courteous, respectful, listen and always, always say . . . Thank you!! I can’t tell you how many times we reminded them. It’s one of those nice things, respectful and courteous things to do in our world.
But if we are honest with ourselves, even adults — and yes, even Christians — we need to be reminded to say thank you, as well. It drives me crazy when I give someone a pass when they want to change lanes or cut in front of me and they don’t give me that obligatory wave to say thank you. “It’s the last time I’ll let you cut in.” Like I’m going to see them again. Or when you hold the door open for someone and they walk by with their nose in the air and can’t say “thank you!”
Well, with Thanksgiving coming up very quickly, I want to talk about what it means to be a "thanksgiver."
Why is it so many of us struggle with remembering to give thanks? Sometimes we remember, sometimes we don’t! How does giving thanks even slip our minds? Do we really need a holiday to cause us to pause and give thanks? Maybe, we’re too busy, or we’re thinking about the next thing to do on our list, or maybe it’s because we believe we are entitled to receive something, so we don’t need to give thanks?
At home, we’re thinking about what needs to be done! What errands do I need to do? Who or what needs to be dropped off? Picked up? What is the next appointment?" As your kids grow and grow, you have to go and go, and in the midst of going and going, we fail to stop and hit the pause button . . . and give thanks. It's not because we aren't grateful; we are! It's because, giving thanks simply slips our minds and maybe it isn’t all that natural for us.
I’m sure we are all guilty with not giving thanks for gifts, for acts of kindness which have been bestowed upon us, or someone does a favor for you and you forget to say thanks. But can you imagine forgetting to give thanks to — of all people — Jesus?
Well, there is a story in the Bible about a group of people who didn’t give thanks to Jesus. I’d like to briefly look at this story, point out a couple of truths, then, I want to get really practical about giving thanks. I would like all of us to become better "thanksgivers."
This story is in the gospel of Luke. Luke was a doctor and this story may have been of great interest to him, because it involved a healing which took place. This is the story he shares in Luke 17 ~
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance
13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
14 When Jesus saw them He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
19 And Jesus said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” — Luke 17:11-19
Let’s review this story, then get practical - - -
Jesus and his followers were on their way to Jerusalem, it was Jesus’ final journey into Jerusalem. They were going to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. In order to get there, they had to pass through the region between Samaria and Galilee. All along the way to Jerusalem were small towns or villages. There were a lot of little towns in which a caravan could stop, rest, get supplies, and then continue with their journey. We don't know exactly which village Jesus entered, but we do know who was waiting for him when He arrived.
As Jesus approached the village, there were 10 men who had leprosy who were waiting to meet Him. And they all stood at a distance. Leprosy is a disease that still exists today; it’s a horrible skin disease in which the skin slowly decays and deteriorates over time. We don't know if that’s exactly what these 10 people had, since the word "leprosy" was used for any skin disease at that time.