Why Giving Thanks Matters

Expressing our gratitude matters to Jesus. He notices when we do and when we don't. He knows grateful hearts strengthen us and lead to peace.

Why Giving Thanks Matters

November 26, 2020

Years ago I heard this story in a small Bible discussion group and it remains one of my favorites: 

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19 NIV)

As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, ten leprous men begged Him for mercy. Leprosy carried serious implications at that time. Because of its contagious nature, the law outlined specific instructions regarding the disease.

Priests bore the responsibility to diagnose all cases of leprosy. (Leviticus 13:1-44) Once diagnosed, the law required a leprous person to live in isolation. (Leviticus 13:45-46) Cut off from family, friends and working relationships, lepers resorted to begging-but from a distance.

Some Bible scholars fix the distance prescribed by the priests as a rod (16.5 feet); others place the distance at 100 paces (approximately 250 feet). 

I can’t help but wonder if all these rules made these men feel invisible to normal society. I imagine they formed a bond out of common misery. Surprisingly, their group included a Samaritan. Rome ruled over both Samaritans and Jews, but the two groups hated each other. The bond between these men transcended their normal aversion to associate with one another. (John 4:9

Together they found the courage to overcome their obstacles. Standing at a far greater distance than the six feet required for COVID, they called out to the One who would see them. 

In response, Jesus sent them to show themselves to the priests. Only priests could declare a person cured of leprosy and able to return to normal life. 

As the lepers obeyed, they were healed of their leprosy. Of the ten, only the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus for the miracle.

I can easily find reasons for the nine who did not return. These men could have traveled to see the priest of their home community. Eager to resume their normal lives with family, friends and work, returning to Jesus to offer thanks may have seemed too great a sacrifice. Maybe they thought Jesus already knew~as God, He is omniscient. Or maybe they planned to come back at a more convenient time.

I see myself so often in these nine men. A busy schedule and life itself sometimes blinds me to the miracles around me. Like these lepers, I can easily take for granted some of the blessings Jesus sends me every day.

Interestingly, the Samaritan returned to offer thanks. Of the ten men, he would be the least likely to ask Jesus for a blessing. As a foreigner, and enemy of the Jewish people, he could have had no expectation for Jesus to grant his request. Knowing how little he deserved the miracle created a gratitude he couldn’t ignore.

I also see myself in this Samaritan. I find my deepest gratitude grows out of those moments when I know I am least deserving. 

Finally, I can’t help but consider the reaction of Jesus. He noticed and praised the Samaritan who returned. He also noticed the nine who did not.

Expressing my thanks matters to Jesus. He notices when I take blessings for granted; He notices when my heart spills over with gratitude. It matters because He created us; He knows a grateful heart gives us strength and leads us to peace.

As I continue down the road, I long to be more aware and to express thanks for all the blessings He sends me. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray you can do the same.

Why Giving Thanks Matters

November 26, 2020

Expressing our gratitude matters to Jesus. He notices when we do and when we don't. He knows grateful hearts strengthen us and lead to peace.

Years ago I heard this story in a small Bible discussion group and it remains one of my favorites: 

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19 NIV)

As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, ten leprous men begged Him for mercy. Leprosy carried serious implications at that time. Because of its contagious nature, the law outlined specific instructions regarding the disease.

Priests bore the responsibility to diagnose all cases of leprosy. (Leviticus 13:1-44) Once diagnosed, the law required a leprous person to live in isolation. (Leviticus 13:45-46) Cut off from family, friends and working relationships, lepers resorted to begging-but from a distance.

Some Bible scholars fix the distance prescribed by the priests as a rod (16.5 feet); others place the distance at 100 paces (approximately 250 feet). 

I can’t help but wonder if all these rules made these men feel invisible to normal society. I imagine they formed a bond out of common misery. Surprisingly, their group included a Samaritan. Rome ruled over both Samaritans and Jews, but the two groups hated each other. The bond between these men transcended their normal aversion to associate with one another. (John 4:9

Together they found the courage to overcome their obstacles. Standing at a far greater distance than the six feet required for COVID, they called out to the One who would see them. 

In response, Jesus sent them to show themselves to the priests. Only priests could declare a person cured of leprosy and able to return to normal life. 

As the lepers obeyed, they were healed of their leprosy. Of the ten, only the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus for the miracle.

I can easily find reasons for the nine who did not return. These men could have traveled to see the priest of their home community. Eager to resume their normal lives with family, friends and work, returning to Jesus to offer thanks may have seemed too great a sacrifice. Maybe they thought Jesus already knew~as God, He is omniscient. Or maybe they planned to come back at a more convenient time.

I see myself so often in these nine men. A busy schedule and life itself sometimes blinds me to the miracles around me. Like these lepers, I can easily take for granted some of the blessings Jesus sends me every day.

Interestingly, the Samaritan returned to offer thanks. Of the ten men, he would be the least likely to ask Jesus for a blessing. As a foreigner, and enemy of the Jewish people, he could have had no expectation for Jesus to grant his request. Knowing how little he deserved the miracle created a gratitude he couldn’t ignore.

I also see myself in this Samaritan. I find my deepest gratitude grows out of those moments when I know I am least deserving. 

Finally, I can’t help but consider the reaction of Jesus. He noticed and praised the Samaritan who returned. He also noticed the nine who did not.

Expressing my thanks matters to Jesus. He notices when I take blessings for granted; He notices when my heart spills over with gratitude. It matters because He created us; He knows a grateful heart gives us strength and leads us to peace.

As I continue down the road, I long to be more aware and to express thanks for all the blessings He sends me. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray you can do the same.

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2 Comments

  1. Wynter on November 29, 2020 at 6:28 PM

    So beautiful! Thank you for such a beautiful reminder ❤️ Blessings!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on November 30, 2020 at 7:42 AM

      Thank you Wynter! I appreciate your kind feedback! ????

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