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4 reasons for giving thanks

Luke 17:11-19

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 

12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 

13 and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." 

14 When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. 

15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 

16 and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 

17 Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 

18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 

19 And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

On this Thanksgiving, I want to share with you 4 reasons for giving thanks. A reason is defined as a fact that explains why something is the way it is, or why someone behaves a certain way.

In Luke’s account, Jesus passed through a village where ten lepers, men with a very serious skin disease, met Him. They stayed at a distance because they were not allowed to approach anyone who was healthy. From a distance they called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, master, have mercy on us!”

These were desperate men in a desperate situation, and they believed that Jesus was the solution to their problem. When Jesus saw the men, He said, “go and show yourselves to the priests; and as they went they were cleansed.”

Notice Jesus didn't say “be healed” or “be clean.” He didn't touch them; He simply told them to go and show themselves to the priests. You see, according to Jewish law, only a priest could declare a person clean from this infection.

The men obeyed, and as they walked, they were healed. They didn't ask 100 questions. They didn't say, “But Jesus…” They simply trusted and obeyed, and because they did so, they experienced freedom from their problem.

Now comes the sad part of the story: All ten men were healed, but only one returned to give thanks. “One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, came back praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and THANKED Him.

Remember, he was a Samaritan; one who was looked down upon by the Jews as a half-breed and an idolater. Jesus asked: “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? Then Jesus said to him, ‘Rise and go, your faith has made you well.'” So, what's the point? Why give thanks? Giving thanks pleases God and brings us closer to Him.

The pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts on December 26, 1620. They lacked sufficient provisions and shelter for the winter, so most of them became ill within weeks. By April, more than half of the population had died of disease or famine. As they dealt with incredible hardships, how were they able to maintain their famous spirit of gratitude toward God? The answer lies in the fact that they had cultivated a habit of gratefulness long before they sailed to America's shores.

Traditionally, they set aside regular days for communal thanksgiving throughout the year to acknowledge God's mercies and praise Him for His faithfulness. This practice was deeply ingrained in an attitude of thankfulness that was not shaken by life's events. Their trust in the Lord's goodness and plan allowed them to find solace and strength to face adversity.

In our text today, we know that all 10 were healed yet only one returned to give thanks

Were the others too excited? Did they forget to give thanks to the one who healed them?

Listen, when the one returned to give thanks, he had the privilege to be in the presence of and recipient of the gift of healing from the greatest person to ever live on this earth.

He met Jesus. Giving thanks to God makes us emotionally healthy.

Did you know that a thankful heart, an “attitude of gratitude,” is viewed by many health professionals as the single most important aspect of maintaining emotional balance, a healthy outlook, as well as producing a resilient spirit?

Thankful people are optimistic and giving people. They not only see their “water glass” as half-full, but they often spend their time trying to give away the half they have.

Ungrateful people, on the other hand, are usually pessimists who not only see the glass as half-empty, but often spend their time trying to figure out who took the other half of their water!

One of the great old hymns of the faith reminds you to “Count Your Blessings”, remember the words?

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God has done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]

Giving thanks to God reminds us of how much we have

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We are to be thankful not only for the things we like, but for the circumstances we don’t like.

When we purpose to thank God for everything that He allows to come into our lives, we have a check against the bitterness that, when left unchecked, can invade your life. You cannot be both thankful and bitter at the same time. You do not thank Him for evil, but that He is sustaining you through it.

James 1:12 says:

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

You don’t thank Him for harm He did not cause, but you do thank Him when He gives you the strength to endure it. Paul told the Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians 12:9

…He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

You thank Him for His promise that “all things will work together for the good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28

Giving thanks to God reminds us who He is and what He has done. He has redeemed us.

Romans 5:8 says “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

He is good-

1 Chronicles 16:34 says Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

He is faithful and just-

1 John 1:9 says:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So in these days of Thanksgiving remember that there are certainly 4 reasons for you to give thanks today. Yet, once you start you probably find so many more. Count your blessings this Thanksgiving season.

A thought to ponder,

Elbert Nasworthy

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