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Jonathan Schaffner
Lead Missionary, Church at Ridgeway

November in America is filled with some of the richest of blessings. We come together to enjoy a unique holiday called Thanksgiving. For many, this means family get-togethers, meals, and a time reminiscing about what we are thankful for. It’s a time of gratitude. While the Scriptures reveal that thanksgiving is a lifestyle, it can still be appreciated that we set aside a season to express gratitude for all our blessings.

The Scriptures speak often concerning the giving of thanks.

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“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things,” (Psalm 107:8-9).

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In Luke’s Gospel, we find an interesting story of gratitude and thanksgiving. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when he encountered ten leprous men.

It is important to understand the effects of leprosy. It was an incurable disease that caused people’s bodies to rot from the inside out. Not only did they experience intense physical pain, but it also caused emotional grief as they were not able to be near their fellow peers. And if it couldn’t get any worse, the law forbids them from worshiping the Lord at the temple, the place where they brought sacrifices and encountered the Lord. They died a lonely, painful death.

As he entered a village, the men cried out, “Master, have mercy on us.” Jesus responded, “Go and show yourself to the priest.” And as they went, they were miraculously healed!

Only one leper turned back to Christ to glorify God. He fell on His face and gave thanks to Jesus for cleansing him. Then Jesus asked, “Wasn’t there ten of you? How come only one came back to give God the glory?” Then Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

It’s important to note that Luke used a special word for the leper that gave thanks. Luke said he was made “well.” This is the Greek word sozo. It means to save, forgive sins, and to deliver. Essentially, Jesus said that his faith not just healed him physically, but healed him spiritually!

What an incredible story of God’s mercy and love, a leper’s gratitude, and the lepers’ ingratitude.

Jesus Christ offers mercy to all who call upon Him to be saved! Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. He was buried and on the third day He rose from the dead. He conquered sin and death. We have spiritual leprosy. Our sin has made us unclean and defiled. We are forbidden from being in the presence of Almighty God. The Good News is that Jesus Christ’s blood cleanses us from our spiritual leprosy. He heals us, forgives us, and brings us into a right relationship with God. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are made right with God. We must recognize our condition. We are defiled by sin. We must repent of our sin and turn to Christ in faith to be forgiven and made new.

It’s easy to enjoy the blessings of God and totally dismiss the greatest gift of all: Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. It’s easy to walk away from God without giving thanks for what He has done. We must be like that one leper—allow the goodness of God to lead us to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. May gratitude flow continuously from our hearts.

Questions? Comments? Prayer? JTSCHAFFNER@GMAIL.COM