ONE SAID THANKS
Last Thursday many of us celebrated Thanksgiving with loved ones. We ate our Thanksgiving meal, watched a little football on the television, had some more to eat, laughed with friends and family, had dessert and then called it a day when your belt had had enough and was screaming “Release Me!”
Unfortunately Thanksgiving has become more of a ritual or a festival than a day when a nation and its people give thanks to God from whom all things come.
I wonder how many people sitting in churches across The United States of America today have the same mindset as nine of the ten lepers who were healed in the Scriptures we just read.
How many Christians assume that God’s blessings are duly theirs because of good works?
Those who are truly blessed understand that God’s cornucopia of blessing begins with the understanding that our greatest blessing is our salvation.
All the blessings we receive should be expressed in thankfulness returned.
Apart from God thankfulness is simply an attitude of the mind and not of the heart.
The ten lepers wanted a blessing. They wanted to be healed. Yet when the blessing came only one showed thankfulness from the heart.
Thankfulness must always begin and end in God!
The Samaritan showed his gratitude from his heart in four ways.
1. By glorifying God
2. By giving reverence to God
3. By expressing humility
4. By expressing Thankfulness
So, let’s look specifically at the four ways the Samaritan can show us some 2000 years later how we can be thankful from our hearts.
I. BY GLORIFYING GOD
You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. Psalm 22:23-24
We often give God complaints instead of enough praise. We put far more emphasis on what we receive in blessing than we do about the Giver!
B. Good Works
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Those who believe they have a right to God’s goodness often do not mirror/reflect the One doing the giving.
C. Bearing Fruit
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8
People who do not see God’s blessing often do not bless others.
II. BY GIVING REVERENCE TO GOD
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to observe the LORD’S commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17
B. The Promised Result
How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. 20In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues. Psalm 31:19
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. Luke 1:50
III. BY EXPRESSING HUMILITY
We can see again and again in Scripture when people would come to Jesus with a request for a blessing they would humble themselves before Him.
Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24So Jesus went with him. Mark 5:22-24
B. The Sinful Woman
When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:37-38
C. The Apostle John at Patmos
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
D. The Warning of Pride
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
IV. BY HAVING A HEART OF THANKFULNESS
ILLUSTRATION: Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her -- she seemed so happy, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet -- the world is mine.
And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, "It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find"; he turned and said, "Oh, thank you sir." And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.
Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, "Why don’t you join the others, dear?" He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
A heart of thankfulness knows that whatever one has it has come from God.
Leprosy is a hideous disease but nevertheless it bound the ten lepers as one. But change does things to people.
Jesus healed all ten yet nine went one way and one went back to Jesus. Nine went to the Jewish priest because because the observance was more important than the healing.
The one new the observance was not what he needed so he went back to the priest who healed him.
Of the nine that went back Charles L. Brown wrote:
One waited to see if the cure was real.
One waited to see if it would last.
One said he would see Jesus later.
One decided that he had never had leprosy.
One said he would have gotten well anyway.
One gave the glory to the priests.
One said, "O, well, Jesus didn’t really do anything."
One said, "Any rabbi could have done it."
One said, "I was already much improved."
Charles L. Brown, Content The Newsletter, June, 1990, p. 3.
And don’t we do the same thing. We look at the blessings we have in life and give it a secular spin instead of giving God the thanks.
“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18