"What do you say, Son?" I prompted him.
"Thank you," he murmured hesitantly.
A minister circled a children's class, handing out pens. He had reached the twelfth child before he heard a "thank you."
Luke 17 tells of Jesus healing ten lepers. These lepers had come crying to Jesus for deliverance. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests. Gladly they started out. On the way, a miracle happened. They were healed!
What happened when they realized this? "One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God."
Jesus asked, "Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?"
Let's face it. Men are not naturally grateful.
Are you thankful? When did you last say thank you? When did you last say thanks for a delicious meal or for your paycheck? Have you ever thanked your parents for the sacrifices they made for you? Has God ever heard you thank Him for the blessings of life?
Too often we are like little children. We want good things, yet when we receive them, we are so caught up with what we were given that we fail to thank the one who gave them.
Like the nine lepers, we enjoy our blessings and want to get on with life. We hardly
consider, as the one leper did, that if we had not received the blessing, we would still be
Why aren't we thankful?
If we are honest, we will find that our unthankfulness is rooted in selfishness. We look out for No.1, and as long as things are going our way, everything is fine. When someone does something for us, we think nothing of the trouble or effort they have put forth. After all, didn't we deserve it?
Small wonder that the Bible pictures unthankfulness as one of the steps away from God. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21).
Another Thanksgiving season is here. Many of us will count our blessings. But what will we do with our list of blessings? Will we thank the One who has so bountifully given them to us, or will we (selfishly) just be glad we have them?
That is a fair question. What has God done for you? Why should you be thankful to Him?
First, there is life. God created you, gave you life, and decided you would be you, and not someone else. You are made in His image; able to think, speak, experience love, joy, sorrow -- the whole realm of human experience.
And without God, you could not even continue to exist! "For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). "By him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17).
Then, God has provided that you may have eternal life. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25, 26).
Let me explain further. You (and everyone else) have sinned. That very tendency to be selfish and unthankful is a symptom of our sinful nature. God's decree is that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). Every person who sins--and every person does--is under condemnation. Everyone stands condemned before a holy God.
Although God is holy and just, and will punish sin, He takes no pleasure in doing so. He loves mankind. He proved His great love for us in the provision He made to save us from death. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
Now, His call is to you. "Come unto me . . . and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). "Return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy . . . he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7). Further, He will fill your heart with a joy and peace that others simply cannot comprehend. You will have the assurance of God's leading in this life, and eternal glory in the next.
What has God done for you? He has provided that your sins can be forgiven. Now He wants to do just that -- forgive your sins. Come to Him, confess your sins, repent of your selfishness, and take Jesus Christ as your Lord.
Then you can say with the Apostle Paul, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15). And you will know the joy that makes you want to "in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
IF YOU WANT A REASON TO SAY THANK YOU
Receive God's Gift into Your Heart
Jesus is God's Gift to man.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten SON" (John 3:16).
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
"The grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (Romans 5:15).
Conditions for Receiving God's Gift
Repent of your sins, believe on Christ, and confess Him as Lord.
"REPENT ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
"BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and THOU SHALT BE SAVED" (Acts 16:31).
"If thou shalt CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE IN THINE HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
After Receiving the Gift
Thank God for His love by obeying Christ in a Christ-honoring brotherhood.
"But THANKS BE TO GOD, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).
"GIVING THANKS ALWAYS for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20).
"If ye CONTINUE IN MY WORD, then are ye my disciples indeed" (John 8:31).
"Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, WITH THEM that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).
The self-centered person cannot be thankful.
The God-centered person will be thankful.
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