There are many reasons to give thanks to God, we may even be a reason why somebody else is giving thanks to God. We are thankful when we are provided what we need. However, the world today has become very plentiful with less poverty; and when we become satisfied it is easy for us to take things for granted and thus diminishing thanksgiving and leading to grumblings when we don’t get what we think we deserved.
In today’s passage, out of 10 healed lepers, only 1 came back to give thanks to Jesus and received salvation. Jesus asked, where are the other 9? We can hear the tone of disappointment or even sorrow in this question. If the other 9 had come back to give thanks to Him, they would have received something eternal and salvation. Eternal blessing is given to those who come back to Jesus to give thanks to God.
1. The 2 loud voices
In Luke 17:12-13, all 10 lepers raised their voices seeking for Jesus’ attention, but in verse 15 only one returned glorifying God in a loud voice.
First, when they needed God’s attention for healing they raised their voices. This required faith because rather than going to doctors, they came to Jesus. Loud voice is not just in the volume but asking for prayer from others also takes faith because we believe that when we pray to God, God will hear us.
But how many percent of the time when our prayers get answered or even when there is no answer, do we raise our voice to glorify God? Only one leper came back and glorified God because he saw himself cleansed. Which cry has the greater faith? Both types of cries are of faith, but are we able to cry out both times? Crying out to God in both times is the way to glorify Jesus remembering His work.
The leper was on his way to show himself to the priest and leaders and all of them realized their bodies were cleansed. This 1 leper rather than continuing on, turned back and remembered Jesus, his focus now shifted on Jesus.
When we ask God for solutions to our problems, our focus is on the problem. But when this man was healed, he realized, the focus now is no longer the sickness, but Jesus is the focus. The other 9 also experienced the same healing and miracle but only 1 leper wanted to share his joy and thankfulness to Jesus. This 1 leper came back first, that is the first fruit. Our thanksgiving must be the first fruit given to the Lord. “Lord this is all yours, I remember Lord.”
The other 9 lepers must have been thankful too but focused on doing all the other things they couldn’t do because they were lepers. So, where was the focus of the 9 lepers? On themselves. But this 1 man who returned to Jesus, focused on Jesus and that is how he glorified Jesus.
This one man who came back knew how, when and to whom to give thanks. The others were just merely thankful.
2. Meaning of true thanks given to God
It is not the amount of offering, but it is about us being His child and realizing after maturing concerning all the things we took for granted and how thankful we are to our Father God.
3. There are 2 types of thanksgiving: Natural vs impossible.
Firstly, ‘natural thanks’ is like saying ‘thank you’ naturally when we receive something like a gift. The 10 lepers had this natural thanks.
Next, is impossible thanksgiving. God gives His children different talents, but without thanksgiving, those talents will not last long. When hardships arise, is it easier to give thanks or to grumble, lose heart, and blame others?
Thanksgiving is something we need to practice on, and if we keep doing it then after a while, we will start giving thanks for the things that we would naturally complain about.
During times of darkness and trials, only few people come to pray to God and even fewer people pray and give thanks to God and only a rare few would give thanks to God even though their prayer was not answered. God looks for those rare gems and say: He is precious, that is My son!
Job, Joseph and Daniel (Job 1:20-22; 10:12; Genesis 45:7; Dan 6:10) gave thanks risking all that they had. This shows that they were not hoping to be blessed in the afterlife but they are already enjoying the blessing of God’s presence through thanksgiving, and God uses such people to save a nation.
Let us pray that God will use our children to save this world. Hence the greatest thing to pass down to the next generation is the ability to give thanks to God. Those who give thanks to God will succeed and God will not allow them to perish but God will be with them, support them, and use them.
4. Power comes from giving thanks.
Paul and Silas in the New Testament gave everything for God’s work. As a result they were imprisoned, beaten, and tortured. Yet, in prison, they praised God meaning gave thanks. This is not a habitual singing but this praise is generated from their thankful heart. Their praise and faith has power to open prison doors and allowed others who heard the praise to come to receive Jesus Christ. Thanksgiving brings about miracles and cast out even sickness. Pray to God with thanksgiving and God will give us the power to overcome.
If we don’t have thanksgiving means that we are locking up the doors of God’s blessings. They say, there is no thanksgiving in hell and no grumbling in heaven. Are we living in heaven or hell today? May we give glory to God by recognizing His works, return to thank Him for all the grace and things that we have received and may that thanksgiving give us life eternal.