Summary: For the Christian, Thanksgiving is not a one day event, we need to give God thanks every day.

Thanksgiving Ain’t Over

Scripture Reading – Luke 17:11-17:19

Dear Abby received this letter a few years back.

Dear Abby, Happiness is knowing that your parents won’t almost kill you if you come home a little late. Happiness is having your own bedroom. Happiness is having parents that trust you. Happiness is getting the telephone call you’ve been praying for. Happiness is knowing that you’re well dressed as anybody. Happiness is something I don’t have. – Signed - 15 and Unhappy

A few days later the Dear Abby newspaper column carried this response to the above letter from a 13 year old girl:

Dear Abby, Happiness is being able to walk. Happiness is being able to talk. Happiness is being able to see. Happiness is being able to hear. Unhappiness is reading a letter from a 15 year old girl who can do all these things and still says she isn’t happy. I can talk, I can see, I can hear, but I can’t walk. Signed - Thirteen and Happy.

How many of you are happy this morning? Are you serious? Give me a smile. Give me a real smile. Come on, give me a real smile. When I was working down in California, we had a young man in our church who would do this. At least, give me one of these.

For some of us, it may not be easy to smile because we’re not happy. We think we have no reason to be happy.

It’s my parents. If I had better parents, if they were richer. Why are my parents so poor? It’s all because of my spouse. If I had a different spouse, I’d be much happier. It’s because of my children. They make me unhappy. I’d be happy if it weren’t for them. We love to play the blame game.

The reason most of us aren’t happy is because we are ungrateful people.

By the way, don’t believe the lie that money is what you need to be happy. If some of you were given 10 million dollars, it would destroy you. Because the ten million dollars would make a poor unhappy person into a rich unhappy person, and that could destroy you.

I recently came across a story about a woman who bought the winning lottery ticket in California. She divorced her husband and hid it from him. He found out and sued 9 months later. She lost it all - and now she’s bitter and he’s wearing a new $800.00 suit!

Money is not the answer to happiness. I share a home with one of the happiest women on the face of this earth. She is poor, but she is happy. She is poor because her husband is poor. I grew up poor and I still think poor. And because I am a Seventh-day Adventist minister, I will remain poor until He comes.

Money has nothing to do with happiness. We have to uproot this lie that the devil has so successfully planted in our minds. Because of this single lie, we get married to the wrong people. Because of this lie, we go out and choose the wrong careers.

I’ve heard it said that if you win the lottery, you are happy for a year, but if you like what you do, you are happy for the rest of your life.

The reason most of us aren’t happy is because we are ungrateful people.

We are just like the nine lepers found in Luke 17 who did not return to give Jesus thanks.

Turn with me to Luke 17:12-17

Perhaps we can learn some truths from this passage of scripture that will cause us to give God thanks for what He has done for us.

(12) Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.

Most of us have heard stories of the horrors of having leprosy in Biblical times. It was a horrible disease to have. It is still a horrible disease to have. Not only was there the pain of the disease itself, but there was also the stigma that went with having the disease.

The Mosaic Law pronounced a leper as being “unclean”. They were required by law to go around crying, “Unclean, unclean,” whenever anyone came close to them (Lev. 13:45). They had to rend their clothes as a sign of extreme sorrow, and their faces had to be covered. They were not fit to enter into the tabernacle, or later, the Temple to worship. They could not live with their families. The law required them to live outside the city (Num. 5:2-3).

If we were living in Bible times and you had leprosy, you could not worship here with us today. You could not live with your family in Auburn, Kent, or Federal Way. You’d have to find yourself a place outside of King County, out in the boonies.

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