Devotional

The Sin of Ingratitude (8 March)

As Jesus made his way to Jerusalem, he went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. He was going into a village when he was met by ten men suffering from a dreaded skin disease. They stood at a distance and shouted, "Jesus! Master! Have pity on us!" Jesus saw them and said to them, "Go and let the priests examine you." On the way they were made clean. When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself to the ground at Jesus' feet and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. Jesus spoke up, "There were ten who were healed; where are the other nine? Why is this foreigner the only one who came back to give thanks to God?" And Jesus said to him, "Get up and go; your faith has made you well."
Luke 17:11-19

Ten percent. One out of ten came back to say thank you. They had all called out to Jesus for help, essentially a kind of prayer. And they had all received what they prayed for. But only one was sensitive enough to turn around and go back to say thank you to the one who had heard his prayer and healed him.

I cannot help but wonder if the percentage of thankful lepers reflects the percentages among believers today. We are quick to call out to the Lord for help, but how quick are we, after he has blessed us, to stop what we are doing and thank him?

Thanksgiving should be an integral part of our prayer life. "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (Philippians 4:6) (NLT)

It seems to be one of the characteristics of our fallen human nature that we forget to be thankful. In (2 Timothy 3) Paul describes the evil generation that will live in the last days. In the long and difficult list that includes things like slander and violence, we are told that they will be "ungrateful."

It may seem like such a small thing, but ingratitude has traditionally been defined as a major sin in some parts of the church. The reason is that failure to give thanks is actually a failure to love God. And loving God is the first commandment.

With God's help, I want to make "the thank you corner" a regular part of my day. Perhaps with the prayer at the evening meal or prayer before going to bed, I want to dedicate a few moments to "counting my blessings," to consciously name things I have to be thankful for.

- 8 MARCH -

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