Summary: Ingratitude is prevalent, human, and pa9nful, so let’s be grateful.
The Danger of Ingratitude. Luke 17:11-19
INTRO.: As our nation celebrates Thanksgiving, we must be aware many are not as grateful as they should be. Some of us are so busy enjoying the good things of life like food, family, and fellowship we forget to thank God for these blessings.
Many Americans are like the nine lepers in Jesus’ story. (Read Text.) We instinctively condemn the ingratitude of the nine, yet, in their place, who knows what we might do?
Let’s look at the ingratitude of the nine and see what we can learn about the importance of giving thanks.
I. Let us consider the prevalence of ingratitude:
A. In the story, nine of the ten lepers are ingrates:
1. The grateful percentage seems awfully low.
2. This is common to human nature.
3. An object lesson for the disciples: do not depend on a lot of gratitude for the good you do.
4. Jesus, knowing human nature, was nevertheless not deterred from doing good.
B. Ingratitude takes various forms today:
1. Some may say, “I sure lucked out.”
2. Some receive God’s blessings yet never worship Him.
3. Some even give credit to some cult or “self-help” practice.
4. Some simply take God’s blessings for granted as though they are owed.
II. The human-ness of ingratitude:
A. We can easily justify the nine lepers from a human point of view:
1. The excitement of the moment.
2. The desire to enjoy their freedom and health.
3. The desire to reunite with their families.
4. Maybe there was business interrupted by illness.
B. Sometimes pure happiness can make us forget God:
1. God blesses and we may be too busy enjoying the blessing to take time to thank God.
2. We may be so anxious to share our good news with others.
3. It’s sad when we are so overjoyed with a gift we forget the Giver.
C. Sadly, sorrow can also bring out the ingratitude in us:
1. Sometimes miseries obscure our blessings.
2. At such times, we begin to think everything is bad.
3. ILLUS.: Nursing Home Bible Class.
4. We must remember to give thanks in all circumstances. I Thess. 5:17.
III. The pain ingratitude brings:
A. In the story, Jesus seems hurt by the ingratitude:
1. He is the victim of ingratitude. He did nothing but good, yet they crucified Him.
2. It hurts when one you have tried to help shows no gratitude. We know that.
3. Yet, Jesus didn’t take back the healings.
4. Nor did He allow the incident to sour His attitude toward helping others as we are prone to do.
B. Why did Jesus expect gratitude?
1. The former lepers needed to thank Him.
2. He needed thanks. It feels good to be thanked.
3. ILLUS.: When my Mexican students thanked me for teaching them, it encouraged me to do a better job the next time.
4. Being thankful benefits the thankful because it combats pride.
IV. So, let’s give thanks:
A. For temporal blessings:
1. Freedom to work and enjoy the fruit of our labor.
2. A Christian family and Church home.
3. Health, friends, material provisions, etc.
B. For eternal blessings:
1. The sacrifice of Jesus that bought you eternal life.
2. The freedom we enjoy to worship God without fear.
3. Answered prayer, the Presence of God’s Spirit, all the wonderful things God has promised us.
CONC.: The single grateful leper received a greater blessing than just physical healing. The literal Greek in verse 19 is: “Your faith has saved you once for all and eternally.”
When we acknowledge the gifts God has provided for us and give our lives to Him in grateful surrender, he gives eternal well being.
ILLUS.: Nursing Home Bible Class
As a young Chaplain in a large County extended Care facility, I conducted a weekly Bible class on one of the wards. At one particular time, we had come to a passage where the Gospel writer recorded many miracles of healing. All of my students were ill or disabled. How would I explain God’s seeming unwillingness to heal them? I decided not to try. I would simply read the passage and ask for comments.
To my surprise, not one of them expressed disappointment with God. To a person, they gave thanks to God for giving them the strength to endure their suffering. I was inspired by their faith!