This week my family and I picked the pumpkins in our pumpkin patches, wrapping up a long and bountiful year of gardening produce. It was fun to watch the kids try and carry those heavy pumpkins and stuff their sweatshirt pockets and hats full of the small ornamental ones.
Those pumpkins, combined with all of the trees changing into their beautiful colors, has inspired in me a spirit of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a posture of the heart that seems to crop up (pun intended) a little more than usual during harvest time – and for good reason! Back in the Spring, I, like many others, prayed over my freshly planted garden for a good harvest to share with family and friends. This Fall, I made sure to thank Him for answering that prayer!
Luke 17:11-19 tells a wonderful and shocking story about thankfulness. Ten leprous men come to Jesus, asking Him to heal them of their terrible, isolating disease. Jesus instructs them to go and show themselves to the priests and as they are going, they are miraculously healed! The interesting thing about the story is that only one returns to thank Him for the healing. Only one! And a Samaritan of all people! This man, the text says,
“turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
This story is shocking in that it’s a sure sign of man’s depravity and wonderful in that it reveals the rarity of thankfulness to God (Rom. 1:21). It’s rare, like a precious diamond in the rough. Jesus uses this lesson to teach His disciples that an attitude of gratitude should characterize them as His followers.
At the top of the list of things to be thankful for is His mercy! Jesus tells the man who returned to thank Him that his faith had made him well. Based on the reality that all were healed, but not all had faith in Jesus, this tells us his healing is much deeper than the physical healing. More importantly, this man has been healed spiritually by His mercy. He is no longer isolated from God!
When we come to Jesus in faith, trusting Him as the Savior who died for us, we are also healed spiritually. Our sin that isolates us from God is dealt with and we are reconciled to Him (Rom. 5:10). 1 Peter 2:24 quotes Isaiah 53:5, saying,
"By His wounds, you are healed."
This healing is in the atonement (covering) Jesus’ sacrifice provides for us. It’s something we can be thankful for every moment of every day. Paul says in Colossians 2:7 that when we are rooted and built up in Christ, we will overflow with thanksgiving. Being rooted in Christ produces the fruit of thanksgiving!
At a pastor’s conference in Illinois years ago, I met a sweet, old lady who gave me her son’s book (her son is a pastor) on how to develop and maintain a daily quiet time with God. In addition to praying, reading the Bible, and looking for application to apply that day, one of his unique aspects was to write down one thing he was thankful for each day. In this way, he would start off each day with a grateful heart. Seems like a worthy habit to develop!
What can you be thankful for today? What answered prayers have you forgotten to thank God for answering? There’s a lot of moaning and groaning and complaining these days. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to those around us to be thankful? It would certainly refresh God’s heart! Let’s stand out from the world by thanking God for all He is and does for us, being watchful and thankful for how He provides physically and spiritually.
Colossians 4:2 says,
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”.
In Christ with you,
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