An incident found in Luke 17:11-19 is familiar to many. It is both joyous and sad at the same time. As Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem, he passed through some of the villages in Samaria and Galilee. In one village, a group of 10 lepers saw him and from a distance begged him to heal them. Still existing today, leprosy was and is a hideous disease, and its victims weren’t allowed to even approach those who were “clean.” But Jesus saw them and, in his compassion, told them to go and show themselves to the priests in obedience to the Mosaic command (Leviticus 14:1-2; note the whole chapter). Amazingly, “as they went they were cleansed.”
One of them, a Samaritan, when he saw he was healed of his disease, was compelled to go back, praising God and giving thanks to Jesus. The healer then asked, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
This certainly wasn’t the first instance of ingratitude recorded in scripture! Despite God’s goodness to them, ancient Israel was guilty and showed it by constantly going back into sin after experiencing his forgiveness, and often, deliverance from their enemies. His love for them was quickly forgotten. King Saul was ungrateful to God for his blessings and guidance. Cain, humanity’s first child, exhibited his ingratitude when he disobeyed God about the type of sacrifice he offered. Even the prophet Jonah as guilty of ingratitude when he refused to preach to Nineveh, and further as he complained when God forgave the heathen nation when they repented of their sinfulness. Many more examples can be cited. We may shake our heads at the ungratefulness others. But we shouldn’t be so quick to cast stones at others. We are often guilty as well.
Husbands, aren’t we guilty when we treat our wives in an unkind fashion for some silly, trivial reason? They help us so much, in so many ways. God was right when he noted that “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Wives, are you sometimes guilty of the same thing when you forget how your husbands work hard for you, lashing out because he is unthoughtful? Being unthoughtful isn’t right, but “Two wrongs don’t make a right!” And, of course, children can express ingratitude toward their parents as well. Parents can help children by providing an example of gratitude.
I hope we will be more prone to stop and give thanks for the things God does for us, rather than simply going our way, enjoying them in our selfishness.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).