Summary: The importance and effect of Thankfulness in the Christian life based on the one leper who returned to give thanks.
TEXT: Luke 17:11-19 - The Story of the 10 Lepers.
We are more anxious to receive and too careless to give thanks - the Bible has over 144 mentions of giving thanks and yet we are more ready to grumble and criticize.
Illustration: I saw a lady in the supermarket promoting cheesecakes. She had a little tray full of samples that she offered to people passing by.
There was one mother with an unruly little girl who sprang up to the lady who offered her a cheescake and grabbed one piece. Her mother was a bit embarrased and said to her daughter, ’What do you say darling ?’, trying to get her to thank the lady for the cheescake.
The little girl scratched her head, thought a while and then turned to the lady and said , "Can I have another piece please!!!"
We are more anxious to receive and too careless to give thanks.
Only one out of the ten lepers returned to give thanks to Jesus, showing on average one out of ten people are thankers. To be a thankful person (one who is thankful to God will be thankful to others) reaps many benefits as we shall see.
(2) THE REASONS FOR AND THE RESULTS OF THANKFULNESS
(i) Reasons for Thankfulness
(a) Knowing and experiencing the nature of God
- He is good (Psalm 106:1)
- Thankfulness in all we do is a sign of Spiritual
maturity (Col 2:6-7)
(b) It is the Will of God (1 Thess 5:18)
(ii) Results of Thanksgiving
(a) Promotes Honour (Psalm 50:23) - see verse 15 of the text (he glorified God and was honoured in return -the result is greater salvation).
Illustration: Story of of a man who had just separated from his wife and he went to a small restaurant to drown his sorrows. Many similar people were there sitting alone but a mother and a little gir came in and sat at a nearby table. Before eating the little girl asked if she could give thanks for the food.
The waitress, hearing this, said, ’Yes honey, we don’t mind you doing that’. The little girl announced loudly for all in the restaurant to hear, ’Everyone, bow your heads and close your eyes, i’ll give thanks to God for the food’. Everyone complied and she prayed, "God is great, God is good, We thank Him for all this food!".
Immediately the atmosphere in that little restaurant changed and people started smiling. Some even got up to talk to others. The little girls heart of thanksgiving brought honour and salvation that day.
(b) Promotes Humility (Duet 8:11,14) - see verse 16 of
Illustration: Among the Masai Tribe of Eastern Africa there is a customary way of giving thanks to someone. The person who wants to give thanks will go up to the person who has done them a kindness and stick their head in the dirt saying , "I put my head in the dust before you". They truly know that thanksgiving promotes humility!
(c) Promotes Happiness (Romans 7:24-25) - see verse 19
of the text (’arise’ signifies arising to a more content and happy existence).
(d) Promotes Hope (Psalm 50:14-15) - see verse 19 of
the text (’your faith’ - faith comes from having hope in God - Heb 11:1). The other nine were physically healed but they had no faith and were not made internally whole as this leper was.
All the above benefits of a thankful life can be summed up by saying that a person who is always thankful to God ushers in the very presence of God into an through their lives (See Psalm 95:2 and 100:4). That is why the Bible commands us to give thanks in EVERYTHING (see Eph 5:20 and Phil 4:6).
The opposites of thankfulness (grumbling, criticism and judgemental attitude) leads to the opposite results of above: dishonour, criticism, pride, dissatisfaction and hopelessness.
Let’s be thankful!