Our Bible reading for today is from Luke Chapter 17 beginning with verse 15 and this is the famous story of Jesus healing the ten lepers.
One of them, when he saw that 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, “We’re not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:15-19)
Years ago I witnessed a young man saving a little 9-year-old boy from drowning. And it was in Lake Superior. It was out on a pier and as he pulled this boy out of the water and saved him the boy’s father came up and took the little boy and walked off without saying a word to the man who rescued him.
A group of people saw this and were so upset with the father that they began yelling at him. They couldn’t believe that somebody who had saved his little boy’s life wouldn’t even receive any type of thanks at all.
Ingratitude is something that, sad to say, is kind of deep inside of our sinful human nature. When we’re little children our parents have to teach us over and over again “make sure that you say thanks.”
It’s just something inside of us because of our pride that makes it hard for us to say thanks. And the same is true often with our relationship to God. When we think about all the wonderful blessings that God has done for us and the things that he’s given us both in this life and in the life that is to come. And yet sometimes it’s really hard for us to think about and express our gratitude and thankfulness to God.
It’s interesting that Jesus commends this man for coming back to say thanks. There’s so many things for us to be thankful for with God especially what he’s done for us through His Son paying for our sins and giving us the wonderful hope of everlasting life in heaven.
And so we have so much to be grateful for and it’s that wonderful news that goes down into our hearts that creates the very gratitude that God likes to see in us. That he likes to see in his faithful like this young man. So God is the one who warms our hearts with his wonderful truth and with his gospel to cause us to express gratitude back to him.
Parents often give gifts to their children at birthdays and Christmas. They don’t do it in order to get thanks back from their children but one that thinks comes they’re very grateful for it and they love to see it. And so it is with God and us. God doesn’t make the gifts he gives us dependent upon our gratitude. And yet when we are grateful for his many gifts it warms his heart as our dear heavenly Father. Amen.