Thought for the Week - 18th December

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Luke 17: 11-19

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that
He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers,
who stood afar off.
And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”
And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned,
and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet,
giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed?
But where are the nine?
Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Last week I wrote about Isaiah and the call to buy the things that are eternal. This sermon is about one of those things to buy. Society in some ways has become a society of takers… a society of quick fixes and everything being someone else’s job.  For example, many people think it’s the doctor’s job to look after their health and a teacher’s job to discipline their children.  For some people its entitlement.  People say “it’s God’s job to keep me free from sin”, and won’t take responsibility.

A big part of our lives as Christians is to give thanks to God for what we get given; for those things that we cannot buy.  Do we give thanks to God for all the things that we delight in?  These thoughts of thankfulness allow our souls to delight in the abundance that God gives us.  Are we as thankful as we should be?  Many things come to us because we go to church – fellowship, knowledge of God, assurance of our eternity, strength to carry on, miracles, etc. – yet we don’t give thanks to God.

In the above verses we see the hearts of the nine lepers.  They wanted the healing, but they didn’t want Christ.  The other one had nothing to give Christ, but still gave his thanks.  We need to thanks to God for all things.  What are we thankful for in our Christian lives?  Do we take what He gives us and move on, like the nine lepers?

Only one man turned back and fell on his knees before Christ.  He gave thanks with a loud voice!  This is specifically recorded.  This man wasn’t coming to a man to give thanks, he was thankful to God.

Some people take from God and are ungrateful.  These people are part of the nine lepers, and don’t care.  Jesus knew of the ingratitude of the other men.  He didn’t withhold the blessing for the 9 even though he knew they’d be ungrateful.  Those men still had the healing, but they went without something else that the other man had received.

There’s another book coming with your name on it next year 2017  What are you thankful for?  The word thankful itself comes into all aspects of our lives; it implores us to give thanks.  It includes our money and time ,God ,ourselves ,health ,security, plus family relationships etc etc.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 we read:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.

We need to be above our circumstances!  Our circumstances should not be our controller!  This is in the will of God for us all… to give thanks in all things.  Our circumstances might not change, but we can, inside.

If we don’t give thanks for everything, then we’re outside the will of God.  Each one of us has work to do to be more thankful.  Are we thankful for our heritage, our rights, and the standards we enjoy etc?

The first man’s faith made him whole.  He was considered a lesser being because he was a leper and a Samaritan.  This man who came back to Jesus enjoyed healing and much more, by way of salvation (we read “your faith has made you whole”).  This man who gave glory to God received not only healing but an eternal encounter with God, because he came back to glory God!  Because of his thankfulness, he received both healing and salvation!  All because he came back to give thanks to Christ.

Today I’d like to ask you, are you caught up in your circumstances and your difficulties?  Here’s a way through.  In all things give thanks.  Pray without ceasing.  If you’re obedient to that, you will find a blessing far bigger than you can contain.


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