Articles Comments

Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Gratitude


It’s refreshing to see gratitude offered these days. At one time people were grateful for the smallest things. When I was younger people had much less than they do now and each thing was received with thanks. We didn’t think the world owed us anything back then. The first car I ever drove to school had no grill and no hood. If it rained I had to find a gas station with an awning to pull under. Yet, I was so proud to have it! Not many of the kids back then drove nice automobiles. Now, if you pass by a high-school parking lot you will see vehicles driven by students that most of us still can’t afford. It seems that people are not only ungrateful but they also expect more than what they received. I am reminded of a passage in the Bible where Jesus healed some lepers. Turn to Luke chapter seventeen to begin today’s message.

As Jesus traveled around Israel He came in constant contact with people who had needs. Not only did He minister to their spiritual needs but He also touched their physical needs. Jesus showed us the heart of God by the way He lived. He was completely selfless and worked tirelessly to take care of everyone else while neglecting His own needs of rest and sometimes even food. In verse eleven we catch up with Him passing through Samaria and Galilee. There were ten men who had leprosy and they called out to Him from a distance. You are probably familiar with leprosy but in case you’re not let me explain. Leprosy is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract with the visible evidence of skin lesions. It was the most feared ailment of Jesus’ time somewhat like cancer is today. Even though it still exists in the world today it we do not fully understand what it was like to be a leper in Jesus day. Since it is contagious lepers were driven from society. That means that anyone who had leprosy could no longer live with their families and friends. They were outcasts who had to live in caves and were not allowed to come near anyone. By law they had to cry “unclean” as they traveled so that people would be able to avoid them.

This disease was also seen as a curse from God as people had been struck with it due to their sinful acts in the Old Testament. As an example Miriam, Moses sister was struck with leprosy for complaining about Moses marriage to a black woman (Numbers 12:1-10). So, not only did the lepers suffer the disease but they also suffered as outcasts. These ten lepers in Luke seventeen cried to Jesus from a distance. Jesus had mercy on them and told them to go show themselves to the priest (v14). It was necessary for lepers to be declared “healed” by the priest so that they could reenter society. In the Book of Leviticus are rules that the priest used to determine the disease. As the lepers began to make their way to the priest they were miraculously healed!

Please stop and think about what had happened to their lives. We are not talking about someone giving them a ticket to a ballgame or paying their utility bill for a month. This is a healing in which their entire lives were changed forever! It was beyond what you and I could imagine. I used to watch the miracle preachers on television and they would often “heal” someone. I saw many people excited when it happened but I also saw some responses that went beyond reason. They would (as example) be healed of deafness and simply smile and calmly say “yes-I can hear now”. I sometimes doubted the healing thinking that the preacher was a charlatan. After reading this passage I now wonder what is wrong with some people.

As the lepers went they were healed. This act of faith opened up the touch of God. They believed and they obeyed. Stepping out in faith is good-but its not all that God wants from us. As these men went away changed they forgot the source of their healing. Jesus graciously gave them a miracle. He stopped their suffering and restored them to their families and friends. In verse fifteen it says that one of the ten went back and cried with a loud voice and glorified God. Jesus pointed out that nine of them had not returned. Just a side note-the number nine is often used in the Bible to denote judgment. One man came back and he is identified as a Samaritan. Samaritan people were half Jews that the Jews did not associate with. In many respects this man was an outcast of outcasts. There was something different in his heart that the other men did not have. I have often wondered what makes the difference between the grateful and ungrateful in this world.

As he fell down at Jesus’ feet to worship Jesus asked where the rest were. His question tells us that He is looking for grateful hearts. Now, pay careful attention to what happened in verse nineteen. Jesus told him to go his way because his faith had made him whole. The other men were healed of leprosy. They went to the priest to be declared clean. But Jesus said this man was made whole. The Greek word here for “whole” means complete. If he had lost fingers (a common effect of leprosy) they were restored. If he had disfigurement (another common problem) it was healed. This man had a grateful heart and Jesus gave him more. He had already been given more than he deserved. He returned to thank God. In his worship he was blessed even more.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Paul writes that in the last days perilous times would come.  He lists several symptoms of a world that is turned from God and one of these is “unthankful”. This entire list of things sounds like someone who’s is self consumed and who thinks of no one else. We might think it’s no big deal to be ungrateful but it is listed as one of the signs of a coming environment void of God. Like the other nine lepers the society of the last days is said to think only of themselves. Does that accurately describe our world today? I think it does. Now, everyone forgets to say “thanks” at times. I try to be polite and send cards when someone has done something nice for me. But, I’ve also forgotten. I used to think gratitude was something cultural about certain places in the world. My mother taught us to say “please” and “thank you” and to be grateful for what we had-no matter how little it seemed because someone else in the world had less than we did. But the truly grateful heart can really be thankful for what they have regardless of what society they live in.

Psalms 106 is an interesting song of the Children of Israel and how they were delivered from slavery, the enemy, hunger and thirst and still forgot God’s goodness. Verse thirteen says they forgot His works and didn’t seek His counsel. If we have been delivered by Him we owe something to Him. We owe Him our lives. Think about what God has done for you today. He has given you life. You are reading this on a computer of smart-phone that you’ve been blessed with. You probably have more in your home than two-thirds of the world. Have you thanked Him daily for it all? Do you have the attitude that you actually earned all of that? When I grew up it was common to see whole families blessing their food in restaurants. Our family always holds hands and we pray before we receive our food still because we recognize that everything we have is because of Him. In Romans 1:21 Paul talks about those who have known God but haven’t retained Him in their lives. Paul said that their hearts became dark. This is the effects of an ungrateful heart. When we refuse to thank Him for what we have our hearts get even more darkened.

The world tells us in advertisements that we deserve better. They illustrate automobiles that are luxurious and lavish. They want to make us feel like we are nobody if we don’t drive one. Often people grow up with an attitude that they are better than someone else because of their wealth, race, talent or physical beauty. They believe that they deserve more than the rest of the world and sometimes feel like they have even earned it. When we have this kind of attitude we are in for a rude awakening. All of the things we have can be lost in a moment. Physical beauty can be taken away in a car accident. Health can be lost in a moment. Riches are a fleeting as a feather in the wind. And that luxury car they talked you into can be smashed on the way home from the dealer. Only when we have the attitude that we don’t deserve these blessings are we grateful for what we have. Like the leper who returned back to worship God we can have a heart that recognizes God’s goodness.

King David was said to be a man after God’s own heart. He had many mistakes in his life and yet his heart was always returning to God. He recognized that God had blessed him beyond what he felt he deserved. The modern teaching is that if you are born-again you deserve everything because you are a “King’s Kid”. You are told that as joint heirs with Christ you deserve everything He has. This kind of teaching leads only to that dark heart in Romans chapter one. When you are born-again you are stating that you are a sinner and need a Savior. I pray that that is your story. Well, the story isn’t over. You still need Him! You are still a sinner, only now you are a sinner saved by grace. Without Him you’d be right back in the mud. The prodigal son reminds us that we may be a son but we approach God with the attitude of being a servant.

In 1st Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says that we should give thanks in all circumstances. I once mocked a man who took a canoe trip with me. Before we entered the river he said we should pray. The water was icy and the river was high. We hadn’t gone far when we overturned in some rapids. When we got to the bank I said, “Boy, it’s a good thing we prayed”. I didn’t say it in a glad, happy to be alive tone but one of a miserable, wet cat kind of tone. He either was too busy shivering and didn’t understand my sarcasm or he chose to ignore me. On the way home that day I repented. I realized that, yes we had turned the boat over but God had kept us from harm. Instead of thinking we deserve no inconveniences we should be thankful for everything God chooses to bless us with and everything He chooses to withhold.

What is our excuse for not being thankful? Christians are missing out on shedding light in a dark world by thanking people for what they do. When we are grateful for what we have we show the world that Christ lives in us. When the world sees us thanking God for everything we have, even if it doesn’t seem like much by their standards, we will be seen as the Sons of God.

Prayer-Father, thank You for what You have done for us today. You sent Your Son to take our place on a cross. Jesus gave us life and made a way for us to be with You some day. We have Your Word to read and to learn more about You. You gave us Your Holy Spirit to comfort us and to guide us. If we never received another thing in this life we have already received more than we deserve. Thank You Father for choosing us today.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen


Written by

Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Filed under: Messages

Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>