Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gracious Gratitude

Chuckle: When I was little, I often wondered who Richard Stands was. You know: "I pledge allegiance to the flag . . . And to the republic for Richard Stands."
Quote: "If it were our lot to suffer deprivation, as it is the lot of many in the world, then gratitude for the little things of life and the big things of God would come more readily to our lips." --Cardinal Basil Hume
    "One of them (the healed lepers), when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, 'Praise God, I'm healed!' He fell face down on the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. The man was a Samaritan" (Luke 17:16 NLT).
I think there are basically three ways we can react when being offered a free gift from God or another person.  (1) We can refuse the gift for fear of obligating ourselves to the giver.  (2) We can accept the gift while see ourselves as worthy, entitled, and deserving because of our circumstances or who we are.  Or, (3) we can accept the gift while seeing ourselves as unworthy and undeserving as our hearts are filled with humility, praise, and gratitude.
I'm sure you are familiar with the story leading up to our passage where Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one, a Samaritan, showed gratitude to Jesus for what had been done for him.  This account reminds us that it is very possible to receive God's wondrous gifts while harboring an ungrateful attitude in our hearts.  Nine of the ten lepers never received the blessing of hearing Jesus say, "Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well" (vs. 19).
When we are grateful for what God does for us, we grow spiritually and become more like Jesus, our ultimate role model for Christian living.  We grow in our understanding of God's wonderful grace and mercy as we express our gratitude.  God uses our response as an opportunity to teach us more about himself.
Lastly, this passage teaches us that God's love, grace, and mercy are for everyone, regardless of race, or social status.  The Samaritans were despised by the Jews who saw themselves as the only pure descendants of Abraham.  The hated Samaritans were a mixed race from the intermarriage between Jews and other people after Israel's exile.
The Jews looked down their noses at the Samaritan's and would not associate with them in any way.  It must have been most difficult for the Jews to accept, but the Samaritan's gratitude for Jesus healing him taught them and us a valuable lesson -- that God does not discriminate when bestowing His love, grace, and mercy. He loves every human being equally and Christ died for the sins of all and He is deserving of our deepest gratitude.

Love, Jerry & Dotse  


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