One Crucial Attitude to Help You Grow Closer to God Today
The other day I found myself with a blah feeling. Do you know the one? The feeling that things are fine, but nothing is great. The feeling that all the people around me are especially annoying. The feeling that I wish I were somewhere else, doing something else. The feeling that I long to stop thinking and watch TV. I was in a funk.
If you had seen me, you might have wondered what I had to be in a funk about. I was sitting by a pool and staying at a beautiful cabin on a vacation. I was healthy, well fed, my physical needs were more than provided for. My kids are all doing well and my marriage is healthy and growing. I have work that I love and energizes me. These things have not always been the case for me.
But I was in a mood. Can you relate? How could I get out of my funk? How can I develop a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude?
Jesus and the disciples were on a journey, making their way to Jerusalem. As they traveled, Jesus taught them. Townspeople, Pharisees and large crowds of people gathered to hear what he had to say. He taught them lessons about humility, discipleship, wealth, greed, forgiveness and faith. Jesus often used parables to illustrate his teachings. But in Luke 17 we see Jesus use an actual situation they encountered on their travels.
As they were heading into a village, ten men with leprosy asked Jesus for mercy. They asked him to have pity on them. Jesus told them to head into town and show themselves to the priests who could declare them healed.
The men weren’t immediately healed. They departed for the temple without clear healing. They discovered as they went, they were all healed from their horrible disease. In their excitement, nine of the men continued to head to the priest to have their healing confirmed.
Only one man was overcome with gratitude and thankfulness. Instead of running to the priests, he turned around, came back, and threw himself at the feet of Jesus. He was overcome with thanksgiving and praise.
We have seen Jesus use questions to get his followers thinking in this "Questions of Jesus" series. Jesus again used a question to make a point:
All ten men were commendable examples in some ways. They obeyed Christ’s command before they saw whether he would heal them or not. We, too, should obey first, then watch and see what God is going to do.
Then Jesus point out to the crowd an unexpected detail. The nine men were Jews, the chose people of God. The only one who came back a Samaritan man. Samaritans endured hatred and arrogance against their race. Jesus used a hated foreigner as an example of the correct heart attitude. The nine Jewish men neglected to appreciate their healing.
The nine received mercy, as did the Samaritan man.
But only the Samaritan man gained fellowship with Jesus, because he came back and sought him out.
The nine received physical healing, as did the Samaritan man.
But only the Samaritan man gained spiritual healing as well.
They all received an incredible blessing, but the nine missed out on an even greater blessing.
In the Bible, leprosy is often used as a picture of spiritual sin. Our hearts are full of leprosy and decay. Our hearts need healing as much as our bodies.
Being thankful has many benefits:
Thankfulness benefits God because:
It brings glory to him.
Thankfulness benefits others because:
It encourages them on their own spiritual walks.
It gives them something to praise God for.
Thankfulness benefits us because:
It heals our hearts.
It brings fellowship with God.
It causes spiritual growth.
So, the next time you find yourself in a funk, try finding things for which to be thankful. What should you be thankful for today? If turning to God, and falling at his feet in gratitude will give us fellowship with the father, why wouldn’t we do that?
Imagine if all your friends and family members in your life were thankful and vocal about it. Imagine the positive, non-toxic, uplifting relationships we would have with each other. We can't make others change, but when we start with ourselves we can be an example to others.
For some help in thinking about what you can be thankful for, check out this new printable. The Thankfulness Worksheet will prompt you in 10 key areas of your life. It is a great way to get started developing an attitude of gratefulness. If you are already a subscriber to the newsletter, you have the password to the resource library page. (I include it in every newsletter!) If not, subscribe now and I will send the password to you through email.
Let me know in the comments: What is one thing you are thankful for today?