Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Attitude Is Everything

Some of us find it hard to say “thank you.” In Vermont a farmer was sitting on the porch with his wife. He was beginning to realize how much she meant to him. It was about time—for they’d lived together forty-two years, and she had been such a help. She had shared the joys and the hardships of their marriage. She had worked hard and loved him unconditionally. One day as they sat together, he said, “Wife, you’ve been such a wonderful woman that there are times I can hardly keep from telling you.”

One of our problems is that we are blessed in so many ways that we can begin to take them for granted. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that if the stars came out only once a year, everybody would stay up all night to look at them. He observed that we have seen the stars so often that we don’t bother to look at them anymore. It’s easy for us to be like that. We can become so accustomed to our blessings that we can lose our sense of gratitude.

For those of us who think thanksgiving is optional, this gospel story shows how very important it is to take time to give thanks:

“As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ He looked at them and said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, their leprosy disappeared. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, ‘Praise God, I’m healed!’ He fell face down on the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?’ And Jesus said to the man, ‘Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well’ ” (Luke 17:11-19, NLT).

Luke taught us, with this story, that we can be thankful for Jesus’ compassion. These men were outcasts. Their society treated them as if they were already dead. They “stood at a distance” because the law prohibited them from coming in close contact with people. The entire population was afraid of being infected by them.

These ten leprous men didn’t know a lot of theology. But they did know that Jesus is a Savior. The angel was specific about Jesus’ name when He was born:

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

The very name “Jesus” means Yahweh saves.

They also knew that Jesus is in charge. They call Him “Master,” which means “One who stands over.” They sensed His authority. They were laying hold of the One who could save them because they believed He is in charge and has unconditional love for those who are struggling with leprosy. Their confidence in Jesus was justified. “And as they went, their leprosy disappeared.”

The story doesn’t end, however, with the healing of the ten lepers. Luke continued his description of the miracle by pointing out that only one of the ten came back to Jesus to say “Thank You.” Coming back is not popular. The majority (ninety percent of the lepers) kept going.

When we are thankful for the many blessings we have received we become candidates for the greatest blessing anyone can obtain. Forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation are God’s gifts to those who are willing to fall at Jesus feet and say, “Thank You.” We have been blessed. A right attitude about what we have already received can produce unimaginable benefits in the future. Let’s come back to Jesus’ feet this day and say “Thank You.” It will be worth the time it takes.

Wally Odum © 2011, printed with permission

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