by Dr. Michael Sharp
Professor of Worship Studies, NOBTS
Learn more about Dr. Sharp, HERE.
An Attitude of Gratitude (doxazo)
Previously, we noted the importance of completing the sequence of asking God for daily bread, receiving His gracious provision, and concluding with an expression of thanks to God. Another aspect of Thanksgiving relates to how we acknowledge when God answers a specific petition — when He intervenes in the face of our human brokenness and in situations beyond the scope of our normal everyday needs.
This might be a prayer for restoring fractured relationships, for help in overwhelming trials, or for restoring health. In some cases, we might have been crying out to God for a long time concerning our need. But what happens afterward when God extends His mercy in such a way as to heal our brokenness?
The story of Jesus’ encounter with a group of needy people illustrates an important truth about thanksgiving. In Luke 17, we find the account:
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance  and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.  One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising [doxazo] God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him [eucharisteo]—and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” Luke 17:11-19.
Ten lepers, isolated from the general population because of their infectious skin disease, had formed their own community–a community of brokenness. As they saw Jesus, they didn’t approach Him, but rather they shouted out their need to Him: “Jesus, have pity on us! Heal us!” In His mercy, Jesus did just that. He instructed them to go show themselves to the priest (an act of faith as they went). Luke tells us that as they went, they experienced physical healing. Not just one of them, but all of them!
What is recorded next in this wonderful account teaches us a lesson about thanksgiving. Of the ten who had experienced healing, only one of them returned to Jesus to express his thanks. We see a contrast here among individuals who had all received the blessing of healing. Nine went on their way — perhaps to celebrate, to reunite with family members, to get back to life as they might have once known it. But one didn’t hurry on. Instead he pushed the pause button. It seemed important to acknowledge the One who had healed him — to take a moment and express thanks. And Jesus noticed.
How is it possible for our hearts to be complacent when God answers our heart’s cry? A thankful heart is a thoughtful heart; it reflects an attitude of gratitude.
Read yesterday’s post on “Jesus and Thanksgiving” HERE.
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