From One to Many Thanks

by Ray Reuter on November 27, 2014

scan0086One of the more perplexing stories from scripture is that of the ten lepers. Leprosy was a terrible, awful disease. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes often resulting in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present. You were miserable. You were an outcast. You were literally abandoned. As the story goes, Jesus encounters ten of these lepers and simply tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. On their way, they become completely clean. How awesome is that! Totally born again! Yet only one returns to say thank you. Only one? Com ‘on Man! What were the other nine thinking?! How pathetic …

But hold on …  In this age of entitlement, we take for granted that we have a right to have our needs fulfilled and our wishes granted. We have full stomachs, warm shelter, and a variety of clothes to wear. Few of us think any of this is extraordinary. It is normal to us. Yet for millions of people on the planet, such conditions would be a cause for high jubilation. We are so accustomed to getting most of what we want that we are progressively losing the gift of being grateful. Sadly, we focus on what we have not (our scarcity), vs. what we have (our abundance). We are miserable and frustrated by what we lack. We are driven by what we want and covet.

The culture we live in tempts us to be like the lepers who were cured – i.e., unmoved by miracles. Most of us might be perilously close to belonging to the 90 percent who do not return to give thanks to God for what we have received. Not only do we forget God, the ultimate giver of all good gifts, we often forget to acknowledge our indebtedness to the people around us.

All receiving depends on a giving. People who give do so by depriving or diminishing themselves in order to enrich another. We should be thankful, humble, grateful — all the time. “All is gift.” The expression of thanksgiving joins us all together in mutual generosity. Whatever we have, we have received, because what another has received, they have given.

We have so much to be grateful for! Let’s shift from one to many giving thanks and glorifying and praising God.

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