Am I a grateful person?
Do I easily praise God?
Do I say thank you more than I ask?
How did you respond to these questions? I have to admit that, on default mode, my heart descends into grumbling more readily than thankfulness. I usually ask for more rather than being grateful for what I have.
When God answers prayer in an amazing way, do I rejoice? Is praise my first response?
Do I even remember to thank him at all?
Once as Jesus traveled to Jerusalem, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood at a distance and cried out to him. He felt compassion for their suffering and told them to go present themselves to the priest. As they turned to do so—and took the first step of faith—they were healed from leprosy.
They were cleansed.
And no longer separate from others.
Can you imagine? Think of your own skin turned white like ash, with fingers and toes falling off. Banned from your family, from worship, and from being with anyone who didn’t have the disease, you’re homeless—a cave dweller. A new teacher passes by and heals you with a simple command: Leave your place of death and go back into the land of the living. Go back to the temple into the presence of the priest himself.
You look at your friends with wonder yet turn to do what the teacher said. And with every step, your skin becomes pink and limbs grow back. As you gaze with astonishment at a healed body, you run into Jerusalem to find the priest—then your family. Only one of your group turns back to say thank you to Jesus.
Is it you?
As believers, we’ve been healed of something greater than leprosy. Our sinful hearts have been made new. In Christ, we’re no longer slaves to the disease of sin but are washed servants of the Most High God. We are clothed with Christ’s own record and righteousness.
We are made clean, just like the lepers.
Considering such great deliverance, is it our voice that rings out in praise to God in times of worship? The psalmist declared, “Open my lips that my mouth may speak forth your praise.” Maybe we need to make the same request.
Recently I talked about this struggle in my discipleship group. The next week, Rebekah, our children’s director shared, “As I taught the children on Sunday, I asked who was thankful. All their hands immediately shot up! They called out their thanks and fought with each other for a turn.”
Now that is being thankful.
Do we, as adults, do the same thing? The children’s response follows the charge in Psalm 107:2 which says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Or as the New Living Bible puts it, “Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.”
In Luke, after the story of the lepers, a crowd of disciples praised God in loud voices because of all the miracles they’d seen.
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
The Pharisees—the revered teachers of the day—rebuked Jesus and told him to silence his disciples. Jesus answered, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”
This is how we, as living stones in the household of faith, are to respond to blessings given by our Father. Quickly. Gratefully. Fighting for a chance to add our own cheers—out loud, with exuberance.
If we don’t, who will?