In the last two weeks I took students to camp and then went on vacation. My usual routine has been out of sorts and the two services I run each week have been handled by other people. Words can't express how grateful I am for our student volunteers who have kept things running well while I've been away.
The simple act of gratitude can speak volumes to others. Saying "thank you" or expressing how much you are grateful to someone is a simple way to let someone know they are valued and appreciated. Often, that verbal is gratitude is all we have to offer. Even though it's nothing monetary, it still let's others know you care.
Even my almost two year old daughter has already learned how to say "thank you" and says it without even being instructed. I hope she's learning very young that being grateful will take you a long way in life. Our gratitude let's people know that what they do matters and it is noticed.
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus cleanses ten lepers. They all cried out for Jesus to have mercy on them and he told them what to do to be clean. Being healed of leprosy was a big deal because it was such a bad disease. You were considered unclean and weren't allowed to be a part of society. One would imagine that if someone were to heal you from this, you'd be extremely grateful.
However, only one of the lepers returned to Jesus to express thanks. Verses 15 and 16 say, "Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks." This would be the reaction that would seem natural. Jesus had done the miraculous and changed the lives of these ten. Wouldn't you be incredibly thankful?
Jesus knew that all thanks was owed to God as well. Verse 17 says, "Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?" How shocking that only one would return. The question now turns on us. Are we grateful people? Are consistently thanking God for all the good things He gives us and does for us? Is God shocked by our lack of gratitude to Him?
Every good thing we have is from God (James 1:27). Are we grateful for even the simplest? Are we grateful for each new day, for food to eat, for shelter, and for love and friendships? As Christians, we should be a grateful people. We should be intentionally thanking God every time we pray and we should be continually letting others know how much we appreciate them for who they are and things they do. This simple act will take us a long way.