Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Giving Thanks Always

Ten voices shouting with pleas for mercy, for a touch from the miracle worker.  All of them outcasts and allowed no human contact other than among themselves.  A band of brothers, united by disease. Race, enemy boundaries and class were dissolved as basic needs for survival and support melded them together. Now they dared hope that this Jesus prophet would take up their cause.

Jesus hears them, and calls out to them to go to the priest.  Knowing the law required a priest's examination to be pronounced healed, they go with flickering hope in their hearts.  On the way, each one senses the wounds sealing up, the disfigurements smoothing into normalcy and the joy welling up from a reservoir they thought would never fill again.  Laughter and tears filled the priest's office that day as he struggled to finish the exams in the midst of the uproar.

After the ten were free to go, I wonder if they hurried to family or worried about where to go next.  Did they feel any loyalty to try and stay in touch with each other? What former forbidden activity would they engage in first?

Only one thought to return to Jesus and offer thanks.  He was the foreigner, the one who knew rejection because of origin, not just the shunning from an unclean body. He had reason to be grateful. And when he knelt there at the feet of the healer, he received the blessing of knowing his faith had brought salvation.  He was restored not just in body, but soul as well.

I like this quote by commentator, Matthew Henry.
-“Temporal mercies are then doubled and sweetened to us when they are fetched in by the prayers of faith, and returned by the praises of faith.”

As Jesus highlights the importance of thanksgiving, I'm reminded to live in greater gratitude for his amazing gifts to me- salvation, mercy and goodness that follows me, the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide me, His presence living in me... Expressing that appreciation doesn't always come naturally; I make it intentional in listening to worship music or recounting the blessings in each day as I lay my head down at night. 

A story is told of Matthew Henry when his wallet was stolen.  That night he wrote in his diary what
he was thankful for:
-that he had never been robbed before
-that his life had been spared in the robbery
-that his wallet didn’t have much money in it
-and that he was the one robbed and not the one robbing!

Sharing Christ's goodness with others pays the thanks forward. I am more aware of ways to thank others for their gifts to me.  Handwritten cards cheer any mailbox contents. How about this idea I read recently?

A man gave his wife a journal for Christmas.  She was chagrined as she didn’t like to journal and knew she would never make use of it. Then she noticed that the journal was dated for the previous year and the entries where already filled in.  Her husband had written 365 things he had noticed or observed about his wife, one for each day of the year, that he was thankful for or appreciated about her. 

Anyone want to join me in this way of saying thanks to a spouse?  Shh...It's the surprise factor that makes this gift special.

In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thes. 5:18.

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Thanks for sharing your response!