“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by 10 lepers who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’
When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourself to the priests.’
And as they went, they were cleansed.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, raising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the 0? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’
And he said to him, “Rise and go your way. Your faith has made you well.'”
Luke 17:11-19

This is a true story, not a parable that Jesus told. He had to have known that only the one would return and thank him and praise God, so perhaps he used this as an example about being thankful. Notice all 10 of the men did as Jesus said and headed toward the city to show themselves to the priests. They had the faith that they would be healed. So this was not about faith, but more about gratitude. Jesus answered their prayer and fulfilled their heart’s desire, but only one man, a Gentile at that, came back to him, taking the time to thank and worship him.

When is the last time you recognized an answered prayer request, and fell down in worship in gratitude for that outcome?
When is the last time you thanked God for that problem, that difficult thing in your life, that hardship you wished would go away?

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you…”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

This means to be thankful for not only the good things, but the bad things. Experiencing those hard, painful moments are a part of this life. We have to go through the valleys to appreciate the mountains. We need the night to appreciate the morning sun. We need the pain to know the joy of healing. If we only knew the good, then we couldn’t understand the full meaning of gratitude or grace. In all things give thanks.

Here is another perspective about giving thanks. I read this story about a year ago, and it stuck with me:
“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the sole purpose of showing how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
The son replied, “It was great, Dad!”
“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah,” said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from your time on the farm?” asked his father.
The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog but they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden, but they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, but they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, but they have the whole horizon as their front yard. We have a small piece of land to live on but they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us but they have friends to protect them.”
The boy’s father was speechless.”

Give thanks to God for all that you DO have instead of worrying about what you don’t.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
Psalm 100:4

Food for thought: What ways do you show the Lord your gratitude? He likes it when we say it, but maybe He likes actions even better!

Fun facts: Sarah Joseph Hale, the writer of ‘Mary had a little Lamb’, is  credited for being the one to have convinced Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to recognize Thanksgiving day as a National Holiday on an annual basis.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Sailboat Sunset