17:11-19, Jesus healed 10 lepers. He did not say anything
special of them. He did not touch them. He did not ask them to do
anything spectacular. He simply told them to go show themselves to
the priest, a fulfillment of the Law (Leviticus
14:1-9). As they walked to the priest, all ten were
healed, but only one returned to thank Jesus. We can hear the
disappointment in Jesus’ voice as He asked, “Were there not
ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” For a few minutes, let’s
pretend we are Peter. Being the apostle who wants to do all things
to please our Master, we want to find out the answer to His
question. Where indeed were the nine? Impatiently we head out to
track down the nine cleansed lepers to question them. “Why did
you not return to thank my Master who healed you?” What kind of
responses would we have heard?
“He knows I am thankful, I do not have to say it.”
We should all be thankful for our salvation. However, do we
actually thank God for it or do we excuse ourselves claiming He
According to I
Thessalonians 5:18, we are to give thanks in everything.
God’s command was not to feel glad in everything, but to
actually give thanks. We may be appreciative, but we are not
thankful until we actually give thanks.
“I was getting better anyway.”
We should all be thankful for our health. However, how
often have we found ourselves sick and prayed to God to help us
get better. When the bug is gone, we think the sickness was just
one of those things in life that comes and goes. Surely the
sickness would have gone away on its own. Do we neglect then to
According to III
John 2, John prayed for the health of the brethren. Hear
is the key, if we think we are going to get better anyway without
God’s help, then why waste time praying. There is no faith in
that prayer. However, if we believe we need God’s help to get
better, then we need to thank God when it happens.
“I was the one who went; Jesus did not do anything.”
We should all be thankful for the food and clothing we
have. How often do we believe we have worked for these things and
then not offer thanks God for it?
makes an interesting point. When we pray, God works through us.
Thus, many times God is answering our prayers but He is using us
to do it. In those cases, it may look like we are doing all the
work. In reality, we need to thank God for the ability He is
giving us and what He is accomplishing through us.
“No one else gave thanks.”
I believe we should give thanks for our meals following the
example of Jesus (John
6:11) and Paul (Acts
27:35). Yet how often do we find ourselves eating with a
crowd at a restaurant or party where no one else has given thanks.
We become somewhat embarrassed and do not want to stick out. Some
of us will even try to find a safe haven in scripture saying we do
not want to be like the Pharisees who prayed on the street corners
to be seen of men.
demonstrates that we will often be alone in serving the Lord
properly. While we must not pray to be seen of men, we must pray
when God deserves thanksgiving. In this circumstance, we must let
our light shine that our Father in heaven may be glorified.
Interestingly, we know this excuse to be false. The one
leper did give thanks. What a lesson there is here, how many times
do we make decisions based on what we are sure everyone else is
doing, only to find out our perceptions were misperceptions?
“The Samaritan gave thanks for us.”
Every Sunday, men lead this congregation in prayer. Without
fail, they will thank God for our food, clothing, shelter,
brethren, salvation and forgiveness. How often do we neglect our
own thanksgiving for these and other blessings as though the
prayer in the assembly was good enough? How often do we sit back
and just listen during the prayers in the assembly instead of
praying along with the leader as though his thanksgiving was good
enough for all of us?
explains we each have the individual responsibility to give
thanks. Your thanksgiving does not fulfill my obligation to God
and my thanksgiving does not fulfill yours. We must all give
thanks for ourselves.
“If I do not have leprosy now, I must have never had
How often do we have problems about which we worry for
days, perhaps weeks? In the pit of despair, we turn to God and
pray for help. However when the problem dissipates or is overcome,
do we thank God? Or do we think, “There, you see, that was not
such a big deal after all. I just needed some patience.”?
teaches we are not to worry and fret, rather we are to make our
requests known to God with thanksgiving. The idea conveyed is when
God grants our requests about these concerns, we must be thankful.
We need to give God the credit due Him.
“The priest healed me.”
The number of times Christians have been in the hospital
and made it out alive is mind-boggling. Every one of us have had
some illness or surgery which necessitated doctor’s care. We ask
everyone to pray for us and we spend much time on our knees. When
the surgery or illness is over, how many times have we praised the
doctors and forgotten about God?
teaches God is the reason we live. Without Him, all the doctors in
the world could not keep us alive. We need to be thankful.
“I’m not sure this will last.”
Have you ever been in a storm when the power goes out? I
have been through storms when the electricity was out for days.
What happens when the lights flicker back on? Do we thank God for
His gift, or do we postpone our thanks until we are sure it will
explains our lives will be filled with trouble, which means our
electricity will probably go off again. Whatever good is happening
will probably stop at some time. However, for the times when God
has blessed us, no matter for how long or short a time, we need to
“I’ll thank Jesus later.”
One of the biggest problems we have with thanksgiving is
just finding time to do it. We know we should give thanks but we
have so much to do right now. We will give thanks later.
Unfortunately, later gets here and we are still just as busy. We
keep putting the thanksgiving off.
says we must render to others what is due them right now. It is
wrong to tell our neighbor to go and come back tomorrow. How much
more is it wrong for us to tell God, “Go for now, come back
tomorrow, then I will give you the thanks You already deserve.”?
Why did the one return?
shows the one returning. Why did he come back? Because he knew
Jesus had healed him and he was thankful.
We also need to return to God with thanksgiving. He has
done so much for us.
Obviously, these excuses were made up. However, they do not
sound so made up to us do they? After all, we have heard them made
before. Regrettably, we have all made some of them sometimes,
haven’t we? As one of the songs we often sing says we should
count our blessings. Then we should give thanks for them.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ