When we hear the word “Thanksgiving,” what comes to mind?
For most of us, we think of family gatherings and big meals that include turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. But for serious Christians, this should be a season of gratitude. We have so much to thank God for in 2021. While the culture shakes it’s collective fist at God in rebellion, trying to provoke our patient God to judge the very wickedness we’ve embraced, Christians should be compelled to humbly thank God for His mercies, love, kindness and the freedoms we still enjoy in the United States.
As we know from history, after the initial devastating hardships, the early pilgrims had much to celebrate during their multiple day Thanksgiving feast. The fact that we live in the most prosperous and advanced nation the world has ever known gives us ample reasons to humble ourselves and acknowledge His goodness to us. From warm homes and clothes, to hot coffee, and our ability to travel hundreds of miles in a short amount of time by plane, train or automobile, it is good to enumerate the many blessings of God.
In Luke Chapter 17, Jesus encountered ten men with leprosy, an infectious disease that causes severe, deforming skin sores and nerve damage to the body. According to Old Testament Law, because leprosy was contagious, those infected with it were to be sent outside of the community away from their loved ones. Therefore, leprosy affected sufferers and their loved ones both physically and emotionally.
We read this in Luke 17:12:
And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When He saw them He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Ten men had a need and asked Jesus to be cured. All were healed, but only one returned to thank the Lord. These men had their incurable deformities healed. They had their status in the community reinstated. They were cleansed by Jesus Christ. And yet only one went back to thank the one who healed them and restored them to fellowship with loved ones.
Jesus was no longer important to them. They got what they wanted. They had no desire to worship Him, no interest in remembering Him, and no longer a need for Him. How sad…
When we fail to count our blessings and thank Almighty God for His amazing work in our lives, don’t we do something similar? How often do we go back and thank Him? How often do we live our lives without any acknowledgement of God? How often do we take advantage of His loving kindness let alone the gift of self-government?
If we are honest with ourselves, we’d have to confess that we are easily distracted and self-absorbed, caught up in abundant blessings that we have forgotten the One who loves us so much, that He sent His son to take die in our place. (John 3:16) He is the One who lives in us (1 John 4:4) and enables us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). He is the One who freely gives good gifts to us daily (Psalm 16:2; Romans 8:28; James 1:17).
As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, let’s remember what this season is really about: Gratefulness. Our Almighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the Triune God who makes all these things possible. He is the One who deserves our undying love, devotion and gratitude. Let us give Him thanks!