Of all the holidays we celebrate, none have as much potential for sparking both personal and corporate revival as Thanksgiving. For the most part, we have reduced Thanksgiving to little more than the official start of the Christmas season. It is the day we gather with family, eat enough Turkey to feed five third-world countries and watch professional football, but too often forget what the holiday is supposed to be about. Thanksgiving was originally set apart as a day to remember and give thanks to God, who is the source of all our blessings. This one day has been set aside in order to show gratitude for all of the blessings that God has bestowed on our lives. This is the reason I think this holiday has more potential than any other for making an impact on our lives.
One of the greatest tragedies that can occur in the life of God’s people is when they forget all that God has done for them. In my own life, I can look back and see many times that I have neglected to praise God for what He’s done in the past, what He was doing right then and most importantly the things He would do in the future. Honestly, there have been times when I’ve gotten so caught up in my own life and problems that I’ve neglected to stop and focus on God. Whenever this happens, I notice that my heart begins to grow cold and I start to feel rather distant from God. The solution to this problem is always the same. First, I need to repent of the sin of ingratitude. Second, I have to come back to God to start praising Him for the wonderful blessings that He’s bestowed on my life. The moment I start praising God again and thanking him for blessings that have been poured out on my life, I immediately begin to sense His sweet presence sweep over my heart.
In the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19, the Bible tells us that as Jesus was traveling to the city of Jerusalem, he passed through the region of Samaria. As He came to a certain village, He was met by ten lepers. The condition of these men is important because leprosy was the most dreaded disease in that time but it also serves as an excellent picture of sin. Some have referred to leprosy as “living death” and those who contracted this disease became separated from everyone in society. They were considered unclean and were barred from participating in any of the temple services or feasts. There was no cure for leprosy in those days and those who contracted the disease were sure to die a long, painful, agonizing death. But then Jesus enters the scene.
In verse 13, the lepers beg Jesus for mercy and in v.14 the Bible says, “When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed.” By the mere power of His Word, Jesus changed these men. Their leprosy was gone. No more suffering. No more separation. They had been cleansed. Does that sound familiar? If you have been born again you know that Jesus has done an even more incredible work in your life. In Ephesians 2:1-6 the Bible says that prior to our salvation we were dead in our trespasses and sin but then God made us alive through Jesus Christ. But notice what happens next in the story.
In Luke 17:15-19 the Bible tells us that after Jesus cleansed the ten lepers that one of them turned around and fell on his face thanking Jesus. Ten were cleansed but only one showed any gratitude. I wonder sometimes, if that does not describe our lives. We have been raised from the dead, forgiven of our sin, and promised eternal life but sometimes we are like the nine lepers who never stopped to thank Jesus for what He has done.
Over week, I want to share with you some things that God has done in the past, is doing in the present and will do in the future that should cause to give thanks. I hope that you will read and share some of your thoughts and insights as well.