Have you ever received a gift that you asked for and got exactly what you wanted? How did you show your gratitude?
In the story that inspired this post, found in Luke 17:11-19, highlighted what the Lord delights in. We know our Heavenly Father as a “Good Father” who delights in giving good gifts which we read in Matthew 7:11,
“If you, imperfect as you are,[a] know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him?” TPT.
But what concerns me is our response when we get those gifts or requests fulfilled. In Luke 17, we find the story of the 10 lepers. They all had the same ailment, same social status full of shame and isolation. The scripture highlighted one difference, the ethnicity/religious affiliation. Nine of the lepers were Jews and one a Samaritan. I believe even the quantity to each background was significant. In the eyes of the Jews, a Samaritan was equal to a stray dog which is conversely insignificant and of little value. The Jews being more in quantity, amplified the severity of the outcome, as one that was institutionalized and culturally ingrained.
Jesus healed all ten and sent them, as prescribed by the law, to see the priest to be evaluated whether they were now ceremonially and physically well to re-enter society and religious activities. This took faith as you will find in the text that they were not healed in the presence of Jesus, however while on the way to the priest. Their obedience afforded them an answered prayer for healing.
However, the Samaritan returned with gratitude and received a bonus, according to verses 16 and 19, “When he found Jesus, he fell down at his feet and thanked him over and over, saying to him, “You are the Messiah…Then Jesus said to the healed man lying at his feet, “Arise and go. It was your faith that brought you salvation and made you whole.” So we see here, that he was also healed spiritually, as he received salvation, which transcends any earthly, transient and temporal gift. Our Father wants to give us more and even do the miraculous in our lives but it is dependent on our heart posture. The note in the Bible states that the Samaritan had no priest to run to, so he was able to attribute the gift of healing and salvation directly to Jesus.
It prompts me to consider whether religious traditions,leaders, cultural norms, or institutions are sometimes held in the wrong esteem. Meaning, do you stop to thank God as the giver of ALL good gifts?Sometimes we may attribute good things happening as things we simply earned and are entitled to so we forget who is our Provider.
The Jewish lepers relied on the religious traditions for salvation even though they all correctly acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, the one who was supernaturally able to heal them. They were content with just getting the bare minimum. Jesus had so much more for them, but they forfeited by forsaking “the sacrifice of praise.”
Romans 1:21 states, “ Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness.”
So there is a correlation with gratitude and our perception of God. A writer said, “Returning thanks for blessings already received increases our faith and enables us to approach God with new boldness and new assurance. Doubtless the reason so many have so little faith when they pray, is because they take so little time to meditate upon and thank God for blessings already received. As one meditates upon the answers to prayers already granted, faith waxes bolder and bolder, and we come to feel in the very depths of our souls that there is nothing too hard for the Lord. As we reflect upon the wondrous goodness of God toward us on the one hand, and upon the other hand upon the little thought and strength and time that we ever put into thanksgiving, we may well humble ourselves before God and confess our sin.Thanksgiving is one of the inevitable results of being filled with the Holy Spirit and one who does not learn “in everything to give thanks” cannot continue to pray in the Spirit. If we would learn to pray with power we would do well to let these two words sink deep into our hearts: “WITH THANKSGIVING.”
Psalms 107:20-22 TPT says,“God spoke the words “Be healed,” and we were healed, delivered from death’s door! So lift your hands and give thanks to God for his marvelous kindness and for his miracles of mercy for those he loves! Bring your praise as an offering and your thanks as a sacrifice as you sing your story of miracles with a joyful song.”
Thank the Lord for the gifts you have received by name, including salvation, he inhabits your praise.