Summary: Having a thankful attitude is so important in our Christian walk, it helps us mature into what God wants us to become.
INTRO: Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!" John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life." "But you must!" implored his companion. "The bull is catching up to us." "Alright," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ’0 Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful’"
-The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
-There was once a legend about a man who found the barn where Satan kept his seed to be sown in the human heart. On finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than the others, he learned that those seeds could grow almost anywhere. When Satan was questioned, he reluctantly admitted that there was one place he could never get them to thrive. "And where was that?" asked the man. Satan sadly replied, "In the heart of a grateful person."
-Having a thankful attitude is so important in our Christian walk, it helps us mature into what God wants us to become.
TITLE: Learning to Be Thankful
TEXT: Luke 17:11-19
Ingratitude denotes immaturity, either physical or spiritual.
-Take for example, children. They don’t appreciate what their parents do for them. Their concern is not what you did for me yesterday, but what are you doing for me now.
-As we mature physically and spiritually we need to learn to express our appreciation. Question: Why is it that we forget to be thankful?
-The word "thank" actually comes from the old German word thangle which means "to think". (It should be easy to understand then that thinking always precedes thanking.
Background. Jesus is traveling along the border of Samaria and Galilee where he encounters ten lepers. From these ten leapers we can learn some valuable lessons about being thankful.
I. We learn to be thankful when...we think about the fact of how desperate our situation was before we met Jesus. Vv. 11-12
A. The Lord met up with some lepers.
1. Leprosy was the most feared disease of its time. The closest emotional equivalent today would be to be told you have AIDS.
a. It first meant you had to face isolation. They were shut off from their family. They were shut off from their friends. They were shut off from God in the sense they could not enter the temple with the rest of the people.
-Lepers were swept away into isolated colonies and required that when anyone ventured too close to them they’d cry out "unclean, unclean."
b. Can you imagine the humiliation? Children pointing their fingers at you, either laughing or in fear.
-Can you imagine when people see you they turn away in distaste.
-Can you imagine having to rely upon the pity of the people in order to eat.
2. This was an especially humiliating disease because it was believed those who had this disease were suffering because of sin.
-They were thought to be unclean and incapable of having a right relationship with God.
-Leprosy was literally a total loss of life (you had been left to die). It was a disease where you would die a slow and horrible death.
B. How desperate was our situation before we met Christ.
1. I can remember in my life – moving out for the first time, breaking up with my first girlfriend, worrying about making grades, the ball team, being put into a house with people I hardly knew.
-It was not the desperation of a leper but as far as stability, my life was turned upside down.
2. It is through our uncertainty that God is there for us, waiting to have a divine meeting with us.
3. Sometimes we wonder: "What’s there to be thankful for?" In Plymouth, MA, the first settlers set aside a day of thanksgiving yet when you consider their hardships, you realize how easily they could have become bitter. After all, the Pilgrims made seven times more graves than homes in which to live. Nonetheless, in 1621, they set aside a day of thanksgiving. As one person wisely stated, "We do not always get what we ask from God, but we always have reason to thank him."
II. We learn to be thankful when...we think about the fact of what we have gained. Vv. 13-14
A. The lepers kept their distance as prescribed by law, but they sure didn’t be quiet.
1. The lepers’ only hope was Jesus, and they were crying out for help.