Luke 17:15, 16, “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan”
When was the last time you said “thank you” to a co-worker, neighbor, spouse, friend or your children for something they did for you? My parents instilled within me to be respectful and considerate of my elders and to say “thank you” whether it was a waitress at a restaurant, a neighbor with a freshly baked apple pie, or a sales clerk at a department store. In the late 80’s there was a radio program called “Job Center of the Air.” The host of the program said that of the 2,500 people he had helped to find employment, only ten sent a thank-you note to him. He was surprised and somewhat hurt by their attitude of not being thankful.
Maybe you can remember sometime in your life, when you did something for someone and didn’t receive a thank you? Or someone did something for you and you didn’t say, “thank you.” This brought to mind the story of the ten lepers found in the epistle of Luke, which highlights the fact that we are prone to accept blessings without saying, “Thank you.” We are too often like the nine lepers who never returned to give thanks to the Lord Jesus, for healing them.
I read an article in a magazine some time ago regarding a retired schoolteacher who was in her eighties. She related how overjoyed she was to receive a letter from one of her former students thanking her for the role she played in his life. She responded immediately with this response: “I can’t tell you how much your letter meant to me. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years, and yours is the first note of appreciation I have ever received. It filled my heart with much joy.”
My beloved, just as we delight in hearing someone say thank you, so does God take delight in hearing His children say, “Thank you Lord.” He inspired the psalmist to write, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 91:1). How fitting it is, therefore, that we express our gratitude to God, not only for the good things He gives to us, but also the trials that cause us to recognize our spiritual needs and the sorrows He brings into our lives that encourages us to hunger after His righteousness.
Psalm 107:1 says, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” As a deadly tornado ripped through Will County, Illinois, a young father sat on the ground cradling his 3 week ago infant child. When the fierce, howling winds finally subsided and calm had returned, the man’s house was gone and so was his baby. But according to the news report, the father found his child in a field near his house … alive and well … and so was the rest of his family. When asked by a reporter if he was angry that he had lost everything he owned, he replied, “No, I just thank God I have my baby, my family and nothing else is important … for you see, many people don’t have that.
My beloved, often it takes times of tragedy to remind us what really matters in this life. When things are going well, we can easily get preoccupied with what we own. We become tied to so many nonessential, unimportant things. We tend to grow overly concerned about cars, houses, furniture, appliances, clothes, and countless other trappings of our modern life. However, when life is reduced to the essentials, as it was in the Illinois tornado, we recall again that life itself is enough reason to praise God.
So, when was the last time you thanked and praised God for your life, for another day He has given you, for your eyes to see with, for your ears to hear with, for legs to take you where you want to go, for your hands to allow you to do things like tie a shoe lace. If you haven’t you should because there are literally thousands of people who cannot see because they are blind, can’t hear because they are deaf, can’t walk because they have no legs and can’t do things because they have no hands.
We don’t need more to be thankful for; we just need to be more thankful.