Saved by Giving Thanks
“Ten Lepers” by James Christensen
I want to share with you an amazing story from Jesus’ life about thanksgiving:
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
To this point, the story sounds like many other healing miracles of Jesus. Someone who is sick asks for mercy, and Jesus shows it to them! He is so merciful. All they had to do was ask.
By this, Jesus shows he is Lord over all things. By just a word form his mouth, he gives healing to people. Before Jesus spoke, there was disease. After Jesus spoke, there is healing.
All creation does his bidding. No disease, no pain, no sorrow, no evil, is any match for him, because he is Lord!
But then this story has a twist.
15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Out of the 10 who were healed, just 1 goes back.
Out of the 10 who were healed, just 1 praise God.
Out of the 10 who were healed, just 1 gives thanks.
That’s a powerfully convicting word for us this Thanksgiving, isn’t it?! I wonder how true that percentage still is?
1 out of 10.
Do any more than 1 out of 10 see the miracles that the Lord over all creation has blessed them with? Have any more than 1 out of 10 stopped to give him thanks? How many of us are the 1 and how many of us are one of the 9.
So often, I receive gifts from the Lord and just keep going about my business as normal. Many times those gifts are specific answers to prayers (13…“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”). And even still, I keep the gifts to myself.
Every day is a miracle, and everyone has been given a unique set of blessings from the Lord. Rich or poor, sick or healthy, all of us have something to be thankful for today. So the question is not have you been blessed. The question is, are you the 1 or the 9.
If you want to be one of the 1s, take a hint form this Samaritan. He starts with praising God with a loud voice and then falls on his face at Jesus’ feet. I wonder if these are really two different things or if they are one in the same.
The way we give thanks is by praising God.
Our thanksgiving to the Lord looks like falling on our face and saying, You are God, you alone. You have given me so many good gifts. Praise God. Hallelujah!
Praising God is how we give Him thanks.
Then look at Jesus’s response. He is shocked not by the one who gives thanks, but by the 9 who didn’t.
17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Praising God with thanksgiving should be the expected response, not the exception!
Maybe for us it’s too often the other way around.
But then the part of the story that most amazes me comes in the last verse.
19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
By faith, the Samaritan leaper was made well.
But Jesus doesn’t just mean that his disease went away. Jesus is talking about something that goes much deeper than skin level. The word he uses for “made well” is the word for “saved.” (You don’t have to know Greek for that one. Most Bible’s have a footnote: “has saved you.”)
Ans so now we see how important giving thanks is. It’s not just right. It’s not just expected. It’s not just a form of praising God.
Praising God with thanksgiving is how we show saving faith!
“Faith” is what Jesus calls the Samaritan’s giving thanks.
The faith by which we are saved us is the same faith that by which our eyes are opened to our healing, and the same faith by which we turn around and give thanks to Jesus.
Faith in Jesus means we will give Jesus thanks!
So let me be the first this Thanksgiving to say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
In 2017, I’ve had more ups than downs. It’s been good. I’m learning and growing. I’ve got two kids I’m very proud of and delight in. They are a blessing in so many ways. So I give thanks to God for the joy of raising them, and for giving us such amazing kids. We’ve been praying about opening our home for children who are not ours biologically since we got married, and we knew this was the year. I’m so thankful to have Nicolette in our home. I’ve always known she’s amazing, but I figured this transition would be a lot harder on her and more challenging on us. I give thanks to God for the joy of having Nicolette with us. This year I have leaned on Amber more than ever before. We’re learning more and more how to parent and do ministry together, and so I’m very thankful to God for my wife.
And I could go on and on. Thank you, Jesus, for the ways you have blessed me.
This Thanksgiving, are you giving thanks to Jesus? Or another way to ask that is, are you saved?