Category Archives: Gratitude

Gratitude – the value of seeking God, not God’s gifts, Part III

Ten lepers sought cleansing.  Ten received it as they went on their way to the priest.  That action was necessary.  The same point is made in John 9:6-7.  Jesus told the blind man to “Go…wash in the pool of Siloam….  So he went and washed, and came home seeing.”

If Jesus gives freely, we accept willingly.  If Jesus establishes conditions, we comply.  It’s his right to determine how his benefactions come.

Once we receive his grace, our response determines our nature.  The nine, filled with gratitude turned inward, rushed off to re-take their positions in society.  The one, filled with gratitude turned outward, returned to his benefactor.  If, like the nine we rush on with our life, we want only God’s benefit, not God himself.  If, like the one we return to praise, extol and submit to Jesus, we gain a new lease on life.

The needed lesson:  it’s always more important to develop a personal relationship with Jesus than to receive a favor from Jesus, a blessing from Jesus, an answered prayer from Jesus.  We should always value HIM, not what he gives.  We may get what we want from God.  Or we may not.  Whether we do or not, will we be grateful that we know him whom to know is to have everlasting life?  John 17:3

So what do we want most from God?

Healing…or knowing the Healer?

Food…or knowing the Bread of Life?

Finances…or knowing the Owner of all?

Security…or knowing the Refuge of seekers?

The nine went away…to the priest, their homes…a new physical life.  The one went back to Jesus, praising him…then to the priest, his home, but most importantly, to the new spiritual life gained by personally, face-to-face and eye-to-eye seeing God Almighty in the Flesh.

Which will we follow?    -Finis –

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Gratitude – examples of absence abound, Part II

The Philistines attacked Keilah, but Saul didn’t act to rescue them.  David heard of the attack and, under God’s direction, raced to the scene, attacked and scattered the enemy, restoring peace to the city.

When David heard that Saul mobilized his army, he asked God two questions.  Would Saul come?  Yes.  Would the people of Keilah surrender him to Saul?  Yes.

The people of Keilah showed gratitude to the man who wouldn’t help them and ingratitude to the man who had.

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A San Diego businessman specialized in customer satisfaction.  For a particular reason:  if his fence-building employees performed well, customers would tell maybe two people; if they did poorly, those same customers would tell at least twelve people!  It’s true; we are far more apt to complain of poor than appreciate good service.

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After the Americans defeated the British at New Orleans in January, 1815, the Lower House of the Louisiana Legislature voted a resolution of thanks by name to all ranks of officers—except one.  Nowhere in the long list was General Andrew Jackson’s name, the man most responsible for the victory.  For an obvious reason:  when, in December, 1814, the House voted to surrender the city to the British, Jackson dismissed the legislature and ruled by martial law.  Revenge will always be ungrateful.

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After David Livingstone died, his faithful African servants carried his decomposing corpse 9 months and a 1000 miles to the coast.  And when they arrived, British authorities dismissed them without any recognition.  Racism will hardly ever be grateful.

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Jesus had multiple experiences of ingratitude.  Luke 17:11-19 records one from the Master’s Later Perean Ministry.  In the religious no-man’s-land-border between Samaria and Galilee, lepers congregated with their own kind, despite nationality.  They stood afar and shouted their appeal for cleansing.  All ten received it; but only one returned to THANK his benefactor.

– End Part II –

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Gratitude – expressing demands awareness of God, Part I

The Bible assumes our need to thank, glorify, praise and otherwise exalt Almighty God.  Jesus reinforced that assumption when he began the Model Prayer with, “Our Father in Heaven.”  On the D-Day landings, ships’ loudspeakers blared various messages in different languages:  the British heard cries of “Remember Coventry; remember Dunkirk.”  The French heard that they would die on the beloved shores of France, but they would not turn back.  The military authorities aboard exhorted officers in the Higgins’ boats to get their troops ashore, to save their weapons and ammunition and, if they had any strength left, to save themselves.

The two messages most heard that day, and remembered no matter the intervening years were, “Away all boats” and, last of all in statement and first of all in importance, over the ships’ loudspeakers and across the waves of Biscay, the mournful, steady voices of chaplains in each language plaintively appealing, “Our Father, Who art in Heaven….”  With those resounding words ringing in their minds thousands of men in Higgins’ boats roared ashore at the D-Day invasion beaches, 6 June, 1944.

God’s Priority precedes any true gratitude.  The idea of saying “I’m thankful” to NO ONE, refusing to acknowledge God in Christ as our Benefactor, mocks the very idea of Thanksgiving.

– End Part I –

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Gratitude – begets obedience

A man wrote to Dear Abby, extolling his good looks, athletic build and general, all-around attractiveness. So what was his problem?  He complained that every girl he dated couldn’t resist him and wanted to get serious.  But he liked his independence and had no intention of surrendering it, at least for some time.  His question:  what did he have to do to get a few laughs with no commitments?  Abby replied that he should take a hyena to lunch.

Blessings without obligation; joys without accountability; privileges without responsibility.  How many want the one, but not the other?

The official from Capernaum, John 4:46-53, couldn’t take Christ’s benefits so lightly.  When he realized that Jesus had restored his son’s health at the exact time he promised it, the father and his entire household believed.  That belief, of course, implies a commitment to Christ as Lord and Leader.  From that time, those who received Christ’s blessings became his conscious followers.  Nothing less would suffice.

Nothing less ever has or will.  Once we come to Christ, and accept the benefits he offers, we must commit our way to him.  We can’t play games, like the man in Abby’s column.  Once we experience the Master’s grace, we indebt ourselves to him.  All of Christ’s miracles and teachings had one goal:  to bring committed faith in all who received them.  Then, and then alone, were they complete.  And if miracles had obedience as their goal, can we possibly think that salvation of our souls has anything less in mind for us?  All the blessings we receive from Christ obligate us to a corresponding discipleship.  Indeed, can we possess it without a corresponding assumption of its duties?