“Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten lepers cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.'” (Luke 17:17-19 ESV)
Someone said to me one time, “Greg, I know that I should live thankfully, not ungratefully, but how does being a Christian help me do that? How is living life as a Christian any different than anyone else just trying to do their best?”
That’s a hard question. How would you answer that?
I told him that what makes the Christian life different than simply living life to the best of our ability is that we know Who to thank for the things in life. In fact, the key to being thankful isn’t the effort we put into trying to be grateful. No, the source of our thanksgiving are the actions of a merciful God in the Person and work of Jesus for us. The source of a Christian’s thankfulness is the reality of what God has done for us and will do for us by His grace! What makes a Christian’s life of thankfulness different? We know Who to thank and trust for our lives—not just today, but forever. And, when you live thankfully in that reality, there is nothing else like it in our world today!
Jesus healed ten lepers who were outcasts in their society. Theirs was a lonely, detached life. It was one of shame and suffering. All ten were healed, but only one got it. He alone saw the bigger picture. He understood Jesus wasn’t just a holy man or a religious teacher, He was God in the flesh who came to give him life, not just for the moment, but life forever. Jesus says this man’s “faith made Him well.” That doesn’t mean his faith somehow earned the healing because others were healed, too; rather, this man saw his healing as part of something bigger. As a result, he gives thanks to the God who created him, loved him, and redeemed him. It was another opportunity for him to realize that his life was in God’s hands in Christ, and that was a very good thing indeed.
This text shows us how Jesus feels our pain. He not only seeks the outcast—the discarded of this world—He seeks all who know they are lost without Him. This Thanksgiving let’s be mindful of Who is the Source of our thankfulness—not only for this life—but for the eternal life and salvation we have right now by faith. His Name is Jesus. He is the Christ, and there is healing, life, and salvation in His gracious hands. Think about that today and put that thankfulness to work!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the greatest Gift of all: Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
From “Thankfully, That’s the Only Way to Live,” a devotion from Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. What do you do to be especially mindful of being thankful on Thanksgiving?
2. How is it we sometimes forget to be thankful to God for something, especially something we’ve prayed about for a long time?
3. What has the pandemic prompted you to be thankful for?