Recently I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley on gratitude. It was based on a story found in the gospel account of Jesus, written by Luke. The account is found in Luke 17:11-19 and is about ten lepers who are healed by Jesus. It is a familiar passage for anyone who has ever been to a Thanksgiving program in a Church.
Ten lepers see Jesus, and they cry out for pity. He tells them to show themselves to the priest as the Law of Moses required. On the way, they look down and see that they have been healed. One of the ten runs back to Jesus and thanks to him. Jesus seems indignant that nine of them did not come back to thank him, only one did, and he was a foreigner.
Andy, in his sermon, asks an interesting question. He inquires, “Do you think all ten were thankful for this life change?” The obvious answer is yes. If you were an outcast to society, your family, and in many ways, your religion, of course, you would be grateful for being healed. Then he makes a keen observation, “There is a difference between being thankful and expressing thanksgiving.” Then he said something profound that I would like to share with you this day and this week. “A lack of expressing gratitude is received as ingratitude. When you fail to express gratitude to others, they see it as ingratitude.”
The applications are almost unlimited. Your parents do not know you are thankful for them unless you tell them. Your spouse may feel like you are ungrateful for them because you have never expressed it. Your heavenly Father may not know you are thankful for his work in Jesus, simply because you have never fallen before him and said, “Thanks.”
May this week not just be filled with thoughts of thankfulness. May we express them so that everyone will know how we feel.