Evergreen Gratitude

Give Thanks Like a Leper

Lepers-where-are-the-nine15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:15-19

We don’t often think of Jesus as being annoyed. Perhaps we even think it’s a sin to be annoyed, but here in this account of the ten lepers who Jesus healed, He does seem a bit miffed. And with good reason. Ingratitude for all that God has done, is doing and will do for us is really the Original Sin. It’s the sin that got Lucifer cast out of Heaven. It’s the sin that got God fuming mad according to all the prophets. With all that God gives us, although we deserve nothing, how ungrateful is it to want more, different, better?

Jesus restored these ten lepers without hesitation at one request from a distance. This restoration was not merely health – it was a whole life transformation. Leprosy had forced them to leave their families and move to a leper colony separated from everyone else. No shopping, no school, no work, no play, just pain and isolation – in fact, they had to announce their presence at a distance so others could scurry out of the way: “Unclean, unclean!” And no cure, so no hope.

So when, in desperation, these men begged for a miracle and GOT IT, Jesus felt it was only right that prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving should be offered. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! But only the reviled Samaritan ran back full of worship and praise.

This was our Sunday School lesson this week. I think the kids got it. Most of us are raised to say please and thank you. Yet, there are times when our thanks are just half-hearted – Aunt Ethel’s fruitcake perhaps. And times when we should give thanks and we don’t – everyday blessings or even perceived misfortunes.

And then. Then there is the World, ruled by Satan, sowing dissatisfaction and selling entitlement at every turn. As the holidays arrive, the commercials lead the parade chanting ‘bigger, newer, better, designer, custom!’ They stroke our egos convincing us we ‘deserve’ more. They coax the covet, fueling our desire to have what our friends or neighbors or rivals have.

Last week, the Sunday School watched my favorite Veggie Tales episode, Madame Blueberry. It’s a whimsical story of a ‘blue’ berry who is sad because her friends’ things are better than hers. Then, a new Stuff Mart comes to town offering everything she can dream of at discount prices on credit. However, she learns from two small children that happiness doesn’t come from a box, but from a heart of gratitude.

I’ll leave you with my favorite song about gratitude from that episode. It’s been 25 years, my kids are grown, and I still sing this song to myself and to the Lord when I feel the lure of ‘stuff’ coming on.

It isn’t sinful to want things, or even to present our desires to the Lord. He wants to give us the desire of our hearts. And He wants our hearts to desire what He desires. And in all things, He wants us to give thanks. Give thanks to the Lord with a grateful heart, ready to pass on the blessings we’ve received to others. Give thanks and praise the Lord. “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of Yahweh.” Job 1:21

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving,



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