ONE of the most beautiful stories is found in Luke 17:12-19. I know it is a long story but it is well worth our time to read again, "As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!' When He saw them, He said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him, and he was a Samaritan. 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?' Then He said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
FROM this passage there are a few key essentials for being grateful people:
RECOGNITION - "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice." Luke 17:15
The word "saw" means to be aware or conscious of something. This causes me to ask myself, "What am I aware of, and do I recognize all the blessings in my life or do I take them for granted? I also wonder if I will miss the chance to come back and praise Him who is responsible for my blessings. You see, I believe we must ponder to praise, think to thank, reflect to rejoice and change our attitude to show gratitude. Otherwise, we will take our blessings and ultimately God for granted, which is regrettable.
WHAT the one leper had was a panoramic view of life. Who do you think will get a better look at life, the one taking a selfie, or the one who takes pictures of others? Of the ten healed, the one came back praising God and he was the one with a better (panoramic) view of life. He wanted a picture of the One who healed him rather than a selfie of his own clean skin. Most of our society wants to see themselves, which is the lower 90%. Those who worship want to see the one who blessed them. These are the top 10%ers. Which are you?
RESPECT - "He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him..." Luke 17:16-17. Just as all ten lepers were healed, all ten could have come back and given thanks to the giver of life. We too have a choice: We can humbly fall before Jesus, showing Him honor and respect, or we get tripped up by our pride and arrogance. Either way, one day we will all end up on our faces before Him. It is far better to bow our knees before God than to skin them before man. The one is humility, the other will bring humiliation.
RETURN - "Was no-one found to return..?" Luke 17:18. The word "return" Jesus used here has two meanings: The first means under your control, power, or in hand, and the second is to change, turn away, toward or around. The full meaning is we have the power to change. Now there are things in life we can't change: our skin color, nationality, family, or our past. And we definitely can't change others. But what if there were changes we could make, like how we can change the way we see, think and feel about life? These are attitude and perspective, which are always under our control. So often when we have a problem we want a solution. But more often than not, the real solution is with-in and not with-out. Jesus noted it was a foreigner (different) who returned. But what made the one "different" was not his changed skin, but a changed heart. It's attitude and perspective that are the most powerful weapons of change.
RE-BIRTH - "...Except this foreigner?" Luke 17:18. What is interesting is the word "foreigner" in the Greek is Allo/Genes which means Of/Another birth, or different race. Jesus was describing one who was physically different, having been born elsewhere. But on a spiritual level, this man had a different spirit. Like those who have been born again, those of a different place... Heaven, by a different father... God. What makes us believers different, unusual, or unique? What says we are "foreigners" to the world? It has to be that we are born of God. This makes us different. His blood and the forgiveness we enjoy also inspires us to return to worship God. In fact worship is one of the signs someone is truly born again. Praise and thanksgiving come from our lips and worship flows from our lives. Will you return and worship God?