True thankfulness

Kevin Ibanez 

"He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan."  Luke 17:16 (NLT)

“I deserve this” or … “I am entitled to this!” I don’t know how many times I have heard this or some variation of these two phrases uttered from the mouths of many of the teens and young adults that I’ve ministered to over the past fifteen years of my ministry. Here in America, we live in a “selfie” world that is so hyper-focused on our needs, our desires and what makes us happy. The needs of the individual, coupled with the freedoms that we receive in our country because of the ethos of our governmental structure and the sense of entitlement that our affluence has created, is a huge problem. This problem can be described as a culture of selfishness.

As a Christian, our hearts and our lives should reflect a different reality and different sort of behavior. We should be focused on others and follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ who said that we must be the servants of all.

In Luke 17, verses 11 -19, there is a story recorded in this gospel of how Jesus has mercy on ten lepers and heals them. The lepers cried out to Jesus from a distance asking to be healed and Jesus looks at them and tells them to go show themselves to the priests, as was customary in the Jewish law, so that they could prove their health and be accepted back into the community as healed and normal people. On their way to see the priests, they are healed. One of the healed men, realized he was healed and turned back, came to Jesus, fell at his feet and thanked him with a heart of gratitude. The Bible says that he was also a Samaritan, not a full Jew, one of the outcasts, in the eyes of the Jewish community. Jesus was blown away and says, "Weren’t there ten men I healed, where are the other nine? Only one has come back to show his gratitude and glorify God, and on top of that, he’s a Samaritan?" Jesus then says to the already physically healed man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has made you well.” Meaning, you are not only physically well, but now you are saved. Why?  Because Jesus saw his heart and saw that is was a of heart of repentance and gratitude. This man literally and figuratively humbly submitted his life to Jesus Christ.

So what can we learn from this? We, too, must humbly submit our hearts and our lives to Christ. We must show our gratitude not only for the physical, monetary and emotional blessings that we receive from Jesus, but when we realize that He has saved us from our sins and given us a new life, this reality should drive us to our faces in our worship of Jesus, and our lives must demonstrate gratitude and love for our Lord.

So, as we rapidly approach the Thanksgiving holiday, let us have a heart of gratitude and remember God’s love and grace. Let us remember to demonstrate His love and grace toward those we encounter on a daily basis so that more people will fall at the feet of Jesus. just like the leper did as he gave glory to God.

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