"And Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they? Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?'"  Luke 17:17-18

In Luke 17, we read the story of the ten lepers. These ten guys had the dreaded, disfiguring disease that made a person unclean, unfit for society, and virtually subhuman. The tremendous physical toll inflicted by this incurable disease was only surpassed by the great emotional toll of feeling worthless, vile, and unlovable. 
When these men saw Jesus, they cried out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" (Luke 17:13).  Jesus responded with compassion and a challenge, telling them to show themselves to the priests, an obvious reference to Leviticus 14 about the cleansing of a leper.  Luke 17:15 says, "As they were going, they were cleansed" (Luke 17:14).  Do you see that?  "AS THEY WERE GOING, they were cleansed." That's always the way it works with faith.  You have to believe God's Word enough to obey it.  When you take a step of faith, then you see God do miracles.

Can you imagine the overwhelming exhilaration these guys must have felt? Their leprosy was cleansed! The vile disease that had taken virtually everything from them was now gone! They could return to their families! They could return to society! They could really live again! 
Nine of them scurried away to enjoy their great blessing.  But one turned back ... and he was a hated Samaritan.  This guy was also overcome with exhilaration at his cleansing, and he wanted to give thanks and praise to the One who made it possible. He couldn't dream of taking another step without glorifying God and expressing his sincere gratitude. And the Lord responded to his thanksgiving by bestowing on him a far greater gift, the gift of salvation. 
Interestingly, Jesus was wondering aloud about the other guys. Where were they? Why was this "foreigner" alone in his thanks?    
The question for our day is clear: why do so many experience the goodness of God and so few return with grateful thanksgiving?

Let me challenge you as I challenge myself to emulate the Samaritan in this story and give thanks, first and foremost. To be sure, thanksgiving can be a sacrifice.  Life can be cruel and hard. Circumstances can knock us down and leave us devastated. If we are not careful, we can easily become disillusioned, depressed, critical, cynical, and bitter.    
This is the key to rising above the circumstances: focus on what you do have, not what you don't have. Rejoice in the Lord! Give thanks for the cross and the empty tomb! Give thanks for His unfailing love! I truly believe the greatest witnesses for Christ are those who have experienced the worst of life and yet have the best of attitudes, continuing to praise God no matter what. 
Make this Thanksgiving a Thanksgiving to remember as you set aside time to glorify the King. He will be honored, and you will be blessed.
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries

P.S.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Email me at pastorjeff@fromhisheart.org.

Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.


Roller Coaster: Facing the Ups and Downs of Life

DESCRIPTION: Life is like a roller coaster, filled with ups and downs, good times and tough times.  In the midst of it all, God is good and faithful.  In this series on Psalms, Pastor Jeff Schreve takes a no-holds barred look at the struggles we all face on planet earth.  In spite of it all, we can follow in the footsteps of the psalmist and trust God to see us through any trial.