As we look around we see a many people living with anxiety and negativity, an inordinate number of people who are generally disappointed, angry, and frustrated, and too many people who feel they’ve been cheated. This is confusing when you consider that we live in the greatest nation in the world, have more opportunities, comforts, and wealth than any generation that’s every walked the planet. We are some of the most richly blessed people who have ever lived, so why all the dissatisfaction and disappointment? Even when things are not going great, we have been blessed. In order to overcome the negativity we see and avoid the trap of “poor me” who always feels cheated, we must start living the abundant life that Jesus promised his followers. In order to live with true joy, we must change our focus and learn to be a thanks giver.
Scriptures – Luke 17:12-17; Colossians 3:16; Numbers 14:2; Malachi 3:8, 10; Psalms 92:1
Verse – And as He entered a village, ten men with leprosy who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him…. But Jesus responded and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they?” (Lk 17:12-17) It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. (Ps 92:1)
Thought – In the Scripture we read about 10 lepers who were all healed by Jesus, yet only one returned to thank and praise Jesus for the amazing miracle he had received. We note in Jesus response, “But the nine—where are they?” Jesus was obviously a little stunned and maybe hurt, that nine of them didn’t even bother to come back and say “thank you!” Before you jump on your “how dare they” soap box, take a look at you! Do you regularly and often express your thankfulness to God for his blessings? Do you thank those around you for their friendship, love, and service? If you are thinking, “Not so much” what needs to change?
Christ follower, if you need an infusion of thankfulness, let the Holy Spirit work in you! First take your eyes off yourself and your agenda and put your eyes on God. You generally walk toward what you are looking at. When you are looking at God, you move toward Him. Being thankful is a heart issue, that’s why it’s so important to spend time in private worship everyday with God. When you become a thanks giver, it moves the heart of God and positions you for blessing. As you recognize your blessings, you want to bless others and give back to God. Once you realize that all you have belongs to God, you give out of the abundance of your heart. Now we are talking about one of the last frontiers of thankfulness…tithing. God asks for 10% of your income to go into the kingdom, advancing the cause of Christ. It’s amazing the blessings that are released once you cross the threshold of giving. It’s a process, but the Holy Spirit will guide you if you truly want to change your heart. A joyful life comes from a heart of thanksgiving!
Questions – What do you complain about the most? What are you most thankful for? Do you tend to look at the things in your life that you are unhappy about, or at your blessings? How did your childhood influence you toward being a thanks giver or grumbler? Who comes to mind when you think of a thankful person? How do negative people affect you? How is giving to God and to others born out of thankfulness?
Response – Make a list of your blessings. When you begin to grumble about what you don’t have, focus on God and all that He has done for you, then do something for someone else. You are blessed to be a blessing!
Prayer – Dear Lord, I am grateful for your presence in my life each day and for your many blessings. Keep my focus on you so that I can live with joy and be a thanks giver. Use me and my blessings to bless others. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.