The Self-Correcting Property of Being Thankful

Our human-race default is to focus on what we lack, or wish we had. For instance:

I wish I had more money and less bills.

I wish I had a better job.

I wish I had… (fill in the blank.)

Some things are trivial: We all know how repelling that perpetually negative person can be, seemingly always having something to complain about.

While others are far more acute: personally, I wish I had my son back.

When Satan has us in a death grip, tempting us relentlessly to focus on what’s missing from our lives, God provides a principle in scripture that comes with a corrective property.

It’s called “being thankful.”

God’s choice in how things are worded in the Bible are, as you will agree, intentional. So, when Psalm 100 includes “Enter his gates with thanksgiving,…” there is significance to that. As one author put it, “It appears thanksgiving is the gateway to [intimacy with God.]”

Paul warned the believers in Ephesus to abstain from “sexual immorality, covetousness,…” and then wrote, “but instead, let there be thanksgiving.” And only a few verses later, after admonishing his readers to “be filled and controlled with the Spirit,” he then adds, “giving thanks for everything.” (5:3-4, 18-20)

It’s hard being thankful. It’s not our default.

But it has a liberating effect. Our stress eases, our blood pressure begins to lower, and life becomes a little clearer as we begin to sense the presence and power of the Almighty Christ i.e. that in our trivial complaints, our inconveniences, our pain, our piled-up bills and broken relationships, it’s going to be ok.

Parenthetically, we are never instructed to be thankful for our pain, but rather in it.

I no longer have my son. But I can thank God for the Cross and the Empty Tomb, because of which my son is more alive than he’s ever been, and one day – a reunion is coming.

What/who are you thankful for today?

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

 

 

 

 

Where Are the Other Nine?

Rembrandt – Jesus Healing the Leper

Recorded only in Luke’s gospel is the story of Jesus’ encounter with ten lepers while on His way to Jerusalem.  When they saw Him, the ostracized, disenfranchised lepers all cried, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  Jesus did just that.  And then He instructed them to follow through with the Law by showing themselves to the priests.

It’s a wonderful story that could’ve ended there – but it didn’t. 

We pick it up in verse 15 –

“One of [the lepers], when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”

Every time I read that passage my heart is filled with conviction.  Because I know, as I am constantly distracted by the cares of everyday life, I am not nearly as grateful as I ought to be – as I am commanded to be.

Basing his comments on Psalm 100:4, one author stated that “thanksgiving is the gateway to worshiping God” – the very entrance into holy fellowship with the King.

Soon, we celebrate that North American holiday we call “Thanksgiving.” May thanksgiving be a daily characteristic of who we are – of Whose we are.

And, like the one leper in Luke 17, may we never, ever forget to simply stop and tell the Lord “thank you.”

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick