"Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?'" (Luke 17:17-19).
Here on this Thanksgiving weekend we are reminded of the need to give thanks to God. Gratitude is essential to our connection to God. Without praise and thanksgiving, we lapse into consumers—people who take without giving, who receive but do not offer back.
The story of the 10 lepers in Luke's Gospel is compelling for these reasons and more. We sense the story has a great deal to do with us and less to do with leprosy. This is a story about our proclivity to apathy, our willingness to take from God without making the slightest movement toward thanksgiving.
The spirit of gratitude, we know, always has some shoe leather invested in it. We need to move toward God when we feel thankful or move our hands and feet to help others. If we stand still, we become removed and apathetic toward the blessings of God.
There is a need for us to live thankfully. As we consider our blessings—especially those seemingly small yet abundant blessings—we may discover God has given us far more than we realize. There are great blessings in ministry—in the gift of helping others discover their God-given gifts and place in the world. There are gifts of the church, gifts of family, gifts of work itself.
Make a point to live thankfully today. Your expression doesn't have to be fancy or overblown, but it needs to be heartfelt. Do something that will brighten the existence of another—and return thanks to God as you count your blessings one by one.