I’ve spent the past three days researching and writing on the topic of gratitude. I love, love, love the insights learned, and now I’m accountable to apply them to my life. A blog’s too short to write about everything I’ve discovered, but I can elaborate a bit on one point. It revolves around the story of the 10 lepers.
Luke 17:11-19 tells about 10 men who’d been ostracized from society because they suffered with the worst disease known to mankind at that time. When Jesus showed up, He felt compassion on them and healed them. Imagine the implications for them!
They could now return to their families, kiss their wives and hug their kids. Their days as beggars were over, and they could return to meaningful work. They no longer faced a slow and agonizing death. Their bodies were healthy and well, no longer reeking of rotting flesh.
Jesus gave them a second chance at life. “Go show yourself to the priest,” He said. And off they ran. Only one paused, turned, and retraced his steps to say thanks.
Here’s the insight that struck me: Ten lepers received the same blessing. Nine dashed away, no doubt excited beyond words about their new lease on life. But only one connected the gift with the Giver and did something about it.
Which attitude and behavior do we most often emulate?
Every person on earth breathes oxygen every day. Without it, we would die. Do we connect the gift with the Giver and offer thanks?
We eat food several times a day. Do we connect the gift with the Giver and offer thanks?
We sleep with a mattress, pillow, and blankets. Do we connect the gift with the Giver and offer thanks?
Many of us own several translations of the Bible. Do we connect the gift with the Giver and offer thanks?
Interestingly, Jesus asked the grateful leper a question: “Didn’t I heal ten lepers? Then were are the other nine?” This implies that Jesus expected the men to connect the gift with the Giver and express gratitude. And rightfully so, considering what He’d done for them. Unfortunately, it’s not something the majority do.
Francis Shaeffer said, “The beginning of man’s rebellion toward God was and is the lack of a thankful heart.” When we fail to connect the gift with the Giver, we basically take the credit for the good things we experience. We may even, without realizing it, be assuming an attitude of entitlement. But a thankful heart recognizes God’s goodness and role (and the role of other people, too) in our experiencing daily blessings.
Ten months ago I began thinking more intentionally about developing a lifestyle of gratitude. I started a daily Gratitude Break on my Facebook page. Today I’ll post #279. Join me there if you wish, and tell us what you’re grateful for today. Connect the gift with the Giver and give Him the glory.