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Leaving Gratitude in the Dust

November 4, 2010

We saw the picture of Gratitude in the dust yesterday from Luke 17.  Today we’re looking in the same passage at a picture of leaving gratitude IN the dust.

  • All ten sick men were desperate, begging for mercy from a safe distance.
  • All ten sick men called Jesus “Master,” recognizing His power to heal.
  • All ten sick men responded in obedience, turning to go to the priests, as Jesus instructed.
  • All ten sick men were cleansed.

So what made the difference for the “other nine” who didn’t come back to give their thanks to their Healer?  Maybe the answer lies in the action verbs.  The one healed Samaritan saw he was healed and “turned back, praising God with a loud voice.” His healing prompted him to change course and pour his newly born energy into praise.  But the other nine?  The last we know of them is that “they went.”  It appears that as they were cleansed, they just kept going. We read that and shake our heads, with a “tsk, tsk, tsk.”

Ingratitude doesn’t stop.    Ingratitude gets what it came for and moves on.     Ingratitude has places to go and things to do that are too important to take time for being thankful.     It focuses on the “thing” received, instead of the Giver.

On Tuesday Kathy helped us understand that gratitude is “a response to a grace given; the acceptance of a kindness done with the acknowledgement that it was undeserved.”  The ungrateful nine didn’t respond. The ungrateful nine didn’t acknowledge that their healing was undeserved.

No one wants to be the “other nine.” When we receive God’s kindness daily, we choose whether or not to run off with our loot along with the nine or turn around with the one.  What makes the difference for us? Back to verbs, the key may be in what the one did that the nine did not:  “when he saw…”

Before the one responded with gratitude, we’re told “when he saw that he was healed…” he did what the crowd did not. The words here mean to observe and pay attention to something with the eyes, but the verb “saw” also means to “know” with understanding.  When he visibly saw his healed body, he knew the power of Jesus was the source of the change, the same Jesus he called out to for help. The verb tense indicates that it was as he was in the process of observing and knowing he had been healed that he turned around to give thanks.  We are so much better at calling out for help than turning around to give thanks.

While his priority was the Master healer, the priority of the majority was that they got what they wanted and ran off with it.

  • I don’t deserve the good things I am given.
  • God is the source of all good things.
  • To omit gratitude is to misunderstand who I am and Who God is.

The other nine grieved the heart of God, but the one glorified Him.   To those diseased by sin and crying out for healing, God promises, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God!”  (Psalm 50:23)

If we want to be like the crowd, we can “take, run, and go.”    If we want to be like the one, we must “stop, turn, and drop.”

What is your greatest distraction to stopping, turning, and taking time to give thanks?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 8:08 am

    ” Julie, thanks for this excellent post. One sentence in particular jumped off the screen at me: “Ingratitude focuses on the thing received instead of the giver.” You are so right. That is what I tend to do. May God help me focus on Him the One who blesses instead of on the blessing.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      November 4, 2010 10:40 am

      Having thought through this has caused me to look at things with new eyes in the last days … I’m amazed at how distracted by the “things” we’ve become. We need a vision adjustment.

      Julie Sanders

  2. Kristi Stephens permalink*
    November 4, 2010 9:06 am

    Love your thoughts on this, Julie – oh, how true that we like to “take the loot” and run! May God stop us in our tracks this month and call us back to worship with gratitude!

  3. November 4, 2010 1:26 pm

    Julie ~ This was an excellent post! It breaks my heart to know that far too often I’ve walked away from an obvious blessing from God and joined the other nine. May it never be so again!

  4. November 8, 2010 12:33 am

    What a great post.

    You are so right when you said: “We are so much better at calling out for help than turning around to give thanks.” In our fleshly nature, we so self-centered that when we receive what gifts we’ve longed for, we forget to express gratitude because then our minds go on to the next thing we need/want or the next thing we have to do!

    I think we can also bypass the fact that when we turn around (which might be perceived as stopping our “progress”) to give thanks, we end up learning more and growing more in the process.

    I’m really lovin’ this series on gratitude.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      November 8, 2010 9:17 am

      Very insightful – sometimes “stopping” may actually be perceived as a progress slump. So important to keep our eyes on the Lord, so that we don’t become driven by the wrong eyes. I thought of this yesterday in our worship time when we sang, “Jesus draw me close … let the world around me fade away…” The two really go hand in hand, don’t they?

      Julie Sanders


  1. A Guide to Gratitude « Scripture Dig

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