The story of the 10 lepers is sad from the standpoint of the nine healed men who failed to express gratitude to Jesus (Luke 17:11–19). We’re not told why they didn’t return; the implication is that it was because of neglect. But from the standpoint of the one that remembered, it is a prime example of the value of expressed thankfulness.
Eric Hoffer, a migratory farm worker and longshoreman born in 1912, said: “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
God wants us to give thanks to him. Many of the commanded feasts and sacrifices of the Mosaic covenant were to express gratitude. Passover is one of the best examples.
“Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come” (Exodus 12:42).
“On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand” (Exodus 13:8–9).
The apostle Paul had something to say about thankfulness: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
And many are familiar with Psalm 100. I love the beautiful rendering of the King James Version: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”
God loves to hear his praises from his people. Is your “noise” just noise, or is it a joyful praise for all he has done for you?
“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.”
Is your heart glad today? Are you thankful, so much so that you could stand out in the cold, wind and rain and still be singing his praises?
“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.”
Do you know for a fact that he is the Lord of your life? Do you give him glory and praise for creating and then tenderly, compassionately caring for you?
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
Do you come before him daily and give him thanksgiving and praise? Are you truly thankful for his love? Do you exalt his name in your worship?
“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
This is about as basic and elementary as possible for our understanding of who and what God is. He’s speaking not only of the character of God but of his “good” deeds for his people. Furthermore, his characteristics, like him, are for always — they will never end, because he will never end.
I hope your celebration of Thanksgiving will last all year long.