Introduction: ‘Grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness and optimism, and that the practice of gratitude as a discipline protects a person from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, greed and bitterness.’ – https://fee.org/articles/what-ten-lepers-in-the-book-of-luke-can-teach-us-about-gratitude/
Thankful – pleased and relieved; expressing gratitude and relief.
Grateful – feeling or showing an appreciation for something done or recieved
Parts of Message and initial thoughts written by Andy Cook – Pastor of Shirley Hills Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia in January 01, 2014 – ‘ A Lifestyle of Thanksgiving’ https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/sermon-thanksgiving-lifestyle-lepers-healed-luke-17
- Gratitude is a position even if you are in difficult circumstances.
Application: Most of us have it really good…compared to others!
We start with ten men who have the worst disease of their day. The physical ramifications are horrendous. Leprosy attacks the body, leaving sores, missing fingers, missing toes, damaged limbs. In many cases, the initial pain of leprosy gives way to something more terrible than that – a loss of sensation in nerve endings, leading to more damage to more body parts. The disease can take 30 years to run its course, and in that time span, entire limbs can simply fall off. It is, assuredly, a most horrible disease. We have nearly an impossible task in trying to fathom what it was like 2,000 years ago, when medical treatment as we know it today was almost non-existent.
Application: Beth Moore, in her book Jesus The One And Only, tells of an occasion she had to be near a modern-day leper colony. Something within her had always wanted to minister in a leper colony, but her trip overseas had given her the first opportunity to be near such a place. She walked by the entrance three times. She saw those who were suffering. She begged herself for a chance to go inside. But she could not.
The reason? The smell overwhelmed her. She could not work up the stomach to go inside the colony.
Question: What would it have been like to have been removed from friends and family for a lifetime, and to have been forced to announce that removal on a daily basis? It must have been horrible.
Application: Things could be worse for you and I.
2. Gratitude recognizes that we have a merciful and good God to whom we can come. – Luke 17:13
Application: When thy cried out to God, God heard, took the time and provided a solution.
This is an amazingly short application point. This week, be sure you take time to acknowledge God for his goodness. Be sure to actually be thankful. Be sure to gather everyone up for a prayer of Thanksgiving that’s a real prayer of thankfulness. Don’t miss the opportunity to worship God this week. And be loud about it!
Can you miss it? Sure you can. It’s a short week for most folks, which means you might be horribly busy for one, two, or three days. You might have some time off, which means you’ve got some honey-do chores at home, some tasks at church, or some Christmas shopping to do at all the big sales. If you’re traveling, you’ve got to get going. If you’re hosting the family, you’ve got to cook. You’ve got to get to the grocery store. You’ve got to call the turkey help-line again and remember how to get it done.
In a holiday week, it’s possible to get all the way through Thanksgiving without ever stopping to be thankful! Don’t do that! Commit to it, and do it.
3. Gratitude expresses itself in acitivites of Faith and Obedience – Luke 17:14
Do you realize what this says? Jesus said, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests. Jesus never commanded that any of them express thankfulness to God, or return to him, the healer. Nevertheless, that is what Jesus expected.
What kind of action is Jesus looking for from you? Has God’s Holy Spirit been urging you toward some action step? Had the Lord been tugging at you for some step of faith? Is there a family, a friend, or even a stranger in need of help this Thanksgiving season? Is there something you feel compelled to do?
My best advice, based on what Jesus was looking for 2,000 years ago, is to take that step of action. Assume God is pulling you toward that area, or that action, and get it done. Otherwise, a prayer over the Thanksgiving meal will last about as long as that sensation of fullness after the meal. I don’t know about you, but no matter how full I get on Thanksgiving Thursday, I always manage to eat well on Friday.
Shouldn’t our spirit of thankfulness last longer than that? Get it done!
IV. Gratitude is a Personal Matter – Luke 17:15
Look at the Scripture again, and walk with me through this. We’re going to look at three different words that are all trying to say the same thing. They’re all saying that this leper-used-to-be is well.
Look first at verse 15. “One of them, when he saw he was healed . . .” and stop there. This Greek word is “hi-a-tha,” which is a purely medical term. It means to mend, to repair. It’s like a broken bone finally mending. This guy was all patched up.
Application: The other nine didn’t return. We don’t know why but Jesus did take it into account.
5. Gratitude is an Act of Worship – Luke 17:15-16
And Jesus says to this very thankful man willing to follow God before his circumstances changed – to worship God before he returned home – Jesus pronounces a complete healing, a wellness that passes all other wellness terms. This man, Jesus said, understands.
6. Gratitude Allows us to Move Forward with Confidence and Grace. – Luke 17:19