I want you to make a list of all of the things that you have to be thankful for. List out all of the things that you have to be thankful for. I'll help you get the ball rolling: family, friends, job, clothes, life, etc. Go ahead and make your list.
Now that you've created your list, let me ask a question. Why do we so quickly forget about these things? How do we so quickly slip into the mindset that our lives are awful, everything is falling apart, life's not fair, my life stinks, etc.
You've been there right? Even after acknowledging all of the blessings that you know you have, we still gripe about life. There's a great example of this in Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus heals 10 guys with leprosy. This account in Scripture maps out some important truths for you and I as we evaluate our own thankfulness.
Jesus was walking along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Those from Galilee and those from Samaria did not associate with one another. In the words of T. Swift there was some, "bad blood". But what we learn from the end of this passage is that there was at least one Samaritan in the crowd of ten lepers because the one who came back to thank Jesus for healing him, the Scripture says, was a Samaritan.
Here’s why this is significant for you and I when we’re talking about being thankful. Suddenly, these two groups (the Jews and the Samaritans) that up until that point didn’t want anything to do with one another, found themselves roaming around the countryside together, bound together, not by their common ancestry, not because they liked each other, but by their common struggle. They were bound together by their common disease, they all had leprosy.
Lepers were desperate people. If you contracted leprosy you were booted from the community. You were considered an outcast. You were left to fend for yourself. So desperate were these 10 lepers that the Scripture says they stood at a distance crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us". Jesus takes pity on these lepers and heals them but according to the account in Luke, only one of the temple returns to thank Jesus for the healing.
What's their problem right? Why in the world would someone who had just been healed of such a devastating disease not give thanks to the One who had healed him? I'll save the answering of that questions for others. Here's the question I'd like us to answer instead, "Why did the one return?" What caused this one to return when the other nine did not?
Let me suggest that the one who returned truly understood his own desperation.
He understood his own desperation so intensely that when he experienced healing, he couldn't help but give thanks for what Jesus had done in his life.
How understanding are you of what Jesus has really done for you personally? How thankful are you for all of the ways that He has blessed you, yes all the stuff that you listed earlier, but more importantly, how thankful are you for the fact that He has given you life and purpose and renewed hope? Be encouraged and keep moving forward.