It is Thanksgiving here in the USA, a time our nation has set aside to remember what Jesus has done for us. At least that’s what we should be thinking about. So often, though, pressures and circumstances seek to rob us of our thankfulness. We cannot allow this because thankful people receive more from Jesus. “What do you mean by this?” you may be thinking. Let me explain.
Whoever Asks and Believes Will Receive.
In Luke 17:11-17, ten lepers came to Jesus seeking healing. They cried out to Him as so many others had before. And, just like the others, 100% of them, whoever asked Jesus for healing, they received it…Freely! Leprosy is a terrible disease. It turns your skin into something that looks like ash. Your skin literally begins to decay on your body. Parts of your body will begin to fall off. Fingers, toes, ears, parts of the nose, not to mention chunks of your body missing. I know this a bit graphic, but I don’t tell you this for dramatic effect. I tell you this so you can understand these people and their problem. It is also important to understand what actually happened.
These people were not just sick, the sickness had cost them dearly. Parts of their bodies were missing, wrecked by the disease. They were outcasts of society, not allowed fellowship with anyone other than other diseased people. Their very existence was defined by their disease.
When they came to Jesus, they were seeking to be free of their disease, to be able to see and hold loved ones again. They ask just to finally be disease free, and Jesus gives them what they ask for. He tells them what to do, and they do it. In other words, He gave them His Word, they acted on it, even though they could not see or feel anything, and they were healed. We should all learn this lesson and let it be our lifestyle.
Get His Word and Act on It.
It is also important to note they were not healed immediately; they were healed “as they went.” The further they followed Jesus’ Word the more healing manifested. Another important lesson.
But, we are talking about what having a lifestyle of thanksgiving will produce in your life, so let’s look at the man who was thankful.
Here is a man who, when he noticed he had been healed, wanted to return and worship and thank Jesus personally. He was so thankful that instead of going to the temple to be pronounced clean and being able to rejoin his family and society, he turned around and came back to give thanks and to glorify God. This man was, as Jesus said, a Samaritan, a foreigner, meaning at least some of the others were not foreign. Not foreign to the covenant, not foreign to what God could do. The very people who should have expressed thankfulness for God’s love and grace, because they had knowledge of it, didn’t. They were too caught in what the covenant/blessing had provided, healing, they could not be bothered to return and honor The One who had healed them.
The foreigner who didn’t know, who had no covenant relationship, did not take God’s grace for granted, expended time, effort and energy to come back and be grateful.
And, what did this attitude of gratitude produce in his life?
Well, the other nine were in fact healed. The disease was no longer in their bodies. The Greek word for cleanse here means to be made pure. Jesus made them pure, not a single cell of leprosy was present in their body anymore, BUT they were not WHOLE. Whatever body parts were missing before, they were still missing them. Whatever fingers were gone before were still gone. Whatever toes were gone before were still gone. Whatever chunks were missing before were still missing.
This was not the case with the thankful man.
The Thankful Man was Made Whole.
This man who came back, even though it was more difficult than simply going to on the temple. Even though he watched the people who knew better, who should have come back and released thanksgiving, he did not say, “ well they are not doing it so why should I?” This man who had so long been separated from his family, from loved ones, from any human contact, before pursuing those things, wanted to come back and glorify The One who had made those things possible. This man who refused not to give thanks returned to Jesus with thanksgiving, and Jesus said: “Your faith has made you whole/well.” This word in the Greek that is often translated well/whole is the word SOZO. It means to come to a place of complete soundness, to be delivered from loss, to be made complete.
This man’s thanksgiving did not just get him healed like the other men, after all, they were all healed of leprosy. No, this man was made WHOLE. In other words, any toes missing before were no longer missing now. Any chunks gone before were no longer gone now. Any fingers missing before were all new again. This man’s thanksgiving made him whole, nothing missing nothing broken.
Jesus said his thanksgiving was his faith in operation, and the longer his faith operated, the more thankful he was, the more he received.
What are you thankful for, and, if you’re not thankful right now, what SHOULD you be thankful for?
At this Thanksgiving, make up your mind, spend time, effort and energy to remember what Jesus has done for you, and lift up your voice in gratitude. Get your faith in operation over what He has already done and what you believe He is doing in your life right now.
I will tell you one thing, Terry and I will be lifting our voice to Jesus about YOU!! We are so very thankful to Jesus for you. For your love, for your calling, for your partnership!
We are changing the world together, we do not take you for granted. You make it possible for us to go all over the world and see churches strengthened, ministers not quitting and miracles happening in the lives of people.
Pastor Kurt Owen