Summary: Who would have thought that we could learn a lesson from a leper? And who would have thought that the lesson we would learn from him would be in the area of gratitude? But somehow the leper in this story today teaches us three important lessons about th
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. Families gather together for what may be the one time they do so that year. School lets out for a few days. You get a paid day off of work. The fall is here in full force. It’s a great day to sit and watch some football or get out and play some. And who could forget all of the food?
A few years ago, the Peanuts cartoon pictured Charlie Brown bringing out Snoopy’s dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But it was just his usual dog food in a bowl. Snoopy took one look at the dog food and said, "This isn’t fair. The rest of the world is eating turkey with all the trimmings, and all I get is dog food. Because I’m a dog, all I get is dog food." He stood there and stared at his dog food for a moment, and said, "I guess it could be worse. I could be a turkey."
Did you know that in America this year alone 256 million turkeys have been raised, 649 million pounds of cranberries have been produced, along with 1.6 billion pounds of sweet potatoes and 998 million pounds of pumpkin products? The average American will consume 13.7 pounds of turkey this year. I agree with Snoopy. I’m kind of glad I’m not a turkey. Now, granted, not all of this food has been produced or will be consumed on Thanksgiving day. But I would guess that a huge portion of it will be. I hope you don’t eat almost 14 pounds of Turkey this Thursday. But Thanksgiving without the piles and piles of great food just wouldn’t seem right, would it?
But this morning I know that you know that Thanksgiving isn’t about the food. I know you know it’s not about the football. I think you probably even know that it isn’t really even about getting off of work or out of school. We all understand that Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving thanks to God for His blessings. And I would think that most of us try to do that in some fashion.
Maybe before your family takes part of the great feast set before you, you go around the table and share one thing that you’re thankful for. Maybe you take the time to sit down and write out all the things you can think of that you’re thankful for. Maybe you make a special effort to show your gratitude to those around you. I don’t know what your practices are, but I know that you know that this holiday has been set aside for giving thanks. And it’s wonderful.
But before you know it, Friday rolls around. What a day Friday is. And as quickly as Thanksgiving comes, it disappears. Probably the biggest killer to the thanksgiving spirit is the day after Thanksgiving. For on that day Americans leave their attitude of gratitude at yesterday’s dinner table and exchange it for an attitude of greed. In stead of, “Thank You, God, for your blessings,” it’s become, “Get out of my way, punk, I was here first.” Black Friday is the day that our thoughts shift from thankfulness for what we have to coveting what we don’t have. The spirit of praise disappears so quickly.
I don’t know about you this morning, but I don’t want to be guilty of only thinking about being thankful on one day a year. I want to be someone who practices praise every day of the year, whether it’s Thanksgiving Thursday or Black Friday. I want to be a person of gratitude.
There’re a lot of places in the Bible we could go for a Thanksgiving text this morning. But the one that I think I want to draw your attention to is found in Luke 17:11-19. You probably know this already, but the author of Luke of course is a man by the name of Luke. But you may not know that Luke was a physician. And you can tell that this is true by the way he writes.
Each of the four Gospels was written by a different individual. Each one told the story of Jesus from their own perspective. Matthew wrote his book with an emphasis placed upon Jesus as teacher and preacher. Mark, who was writing to the Gentiles, wrote his account in effort to persuade them that Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God. John also took that approach, but he also placed a huge emphasis on showing his readers that this Son of God was the One who made it possible to be saved. Luke was a doctor, so we see much emphasis placed upon the physical. Many, many miracles of Jesus, especially healings, can be found in this Gospel. Our text this morning is the account of one of those miracles. The healing of the ten lepers. Let’s look at it together…