Summary: Of the 10 lepers only one returned to give thanks. Thankfulness is remembering, returning and living to give thanks.
A man writing at the post office desk was approached by an older fellow who had a post card in his hand. The old man said, "Sir, could you please address this post card for me?" The man gladly did so, and he agreed to write a short message on the post card, and he even signed it for the man, too. Finally the man doing the writing said to the older man, "Now, is there anything else I can do for you?" The old fellow thought about it for a minute, and he said, "Yes, at the end could you just put, 'P.S. Please excuse the sloppy handwriting.'" Have you ever been in a situation like this. You offer your help but it is met with contempt. Jesus knew what it is like to give without receiving thanks.
Luke 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him -- and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well"
As Jesus was traveling a group of 10 men with leprosy met him. These men would have lived very hard lives. Even to be seen in public was dangerous let alone expecting or hoping that Jesus would heal them. Acting in faith they took Jesus at His word and were healed. Nine of those who were healed did not return to thank Jesus for what He had done. Have you ever wondered why? Even the church today there are many who have experienced the blessing and forgiveness of Jesus but do not seem to show gratitude in their lives.
Our biggest problem in the church today is this vast majority of Sunday morning Christians who claim to have known the Master's cure but do not return to thank Him by presence, prayer, testimony and support of His church. In fact, the whole Christian life is one big "Thank You," the living expression of our gratitude to God for His goodness. But we take Him for granted and what we take for granted we never take seriously. -- Vance Havner
1. Remembering to Give Thanks –
Have you ever forgotten to give thanks? I know I have. When was the last time you gave of yourself to another and, instead of receiving thanks, only saw indifference.
I worked one summer in the inner city of Toronto at a food bank. One day a woman came in for help. I went and picked out a big bag of food for her. When I gave it to her she looked into the bag and the first words out of her mouth were "I HATE beans!". She proceeded to complain about everthing in the bag and left as I apologized for what I had given her.
Gifts are only received with thanks when they are recognized as gifts. Perhaps these lepers felt they had somehow earned the healing. With all they had been through and suffered they deserved to be healed. God owed it to them. Have you ever thought like that? I have gone to church and said my prayers and done my service - I deserve the blessing of God in my life!
Some people are appreciative by nature, but some are not; and it is these latter people who especially need God's power to express thanksgiving. We should remember that every good gift comes from God and that He is "the Source, Support, and End of all things." The very breath in our mouths is the free gift of God. Thankfulness is the opposite of selfishness. The selfish person says, "I deserve what comes to me! Other people ought to make me happy." But the mature Christian realizes that life is a gift from God, and that the blessings of life come only from His bountiful hand. -- Warren W. Wiersbe
All of us like the lepers were once hopeless. We could not earn our salvation or win God’s favor through good works. We all deserved death but received the gift of life.
Remember the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7. Jesus summed up his parable by saying: