Ten men who are shunned for their leprosy, who are outcasts in their town, cry out to Jesus for healing. This is how our story begins, and all that Jesus says to them is “go and show yourselves to the Priests.” The lepers knew exactly what He meant and they must have been beyond excited. It was customary for someone who was healed from an infectious disease to show themselves to a priest so he could confirm that they were no longer a danger to others.

We all know what happens next; only one of the ten came back to thank Jesus. When we read that part of the story it is easy to feel a bit judgmental towards the other nine. He healed them of a disease that made them unable to be around other people. They lost family and friends but now they are healed and they can lead a normal life. How could they not return to Jesus and say, “Thank you?”  

This is uncomfortable for me to write because I am seeing myself in those other nine who went on their merry way.  Most of us, if we are honest, are more like the nine than the one who came back to thank and praise Jesus.
When was the last time I thanked God for my salvation, for all the spiritual blessings I have in Jesus, for the physical things I own, for the roof over my head, for the love of friends, or even for the healing from the headache that I had all day yesterday?
And I don’t mean a quick, “Hey, thanks Lord,” but a thankfulness that, like the leper, causes us to fall on our knees in praise.

Sometimes we are afraid of grand gestures and strong passions, but I think we need to bring this kind of enthusiasm back into our times of prayer and praise.

1. We need passion and enthusiasm

Can you think of a time when God answered your prayers in such a way that it made you want to jump up and down for joy? Why are these times of excitement so rare? It might be because we don’t really have a proper awe for God. We don’t really understand His greatness and His power; His goodness and His holiness. We also don’t truly see our weakness and our smallness compared to such a great God. Our understanding of who God is compared to who we are will bring about more passion in our gratitude.

It is really easy to forget, and so it might help if we keep better track of all the good things in our lives, as well as all of the good that has come out of hard times.

2. We need humility

The one leper who returned knew who Jesus was and he was humbled that Jesus would have mercy on him and heal him. We need to grow in humility and when we do, our thanksgiving to God will be much more heartfelt. But humility is not something we can just muster up. We can’t really practice it either. Humility comes about the more we study God, the more we see our sin, the more we understand Christ’s sacrifice, and the more we pray for God to make us humble.

There is nothing lovely in and of ourselves; sin has ruined all of it. But Jesus loved us anyway and made us lovely through His transforming power. We also deserve nothing and yet God showers us day after day with blessings. These truths should make us shout for joy and weep with thanksgiving. They should make us humble and passionate, worshipful and obedient.

Like that one leper who returned to Jesus, let’s fall at Jesus’s feet with overwhelming gratitude for all that we are and all that we have because of our good God.

Looking To Jesus,
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Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn

Jen Thorn grew up in Germany and then spent her teenage years in Africa, where her parents were missionaries. She moved to the United States for college and attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago where she met her husband. They have been married for twenty-two years and have four children. Jen lives in the suburbs of Chicago, where her husband is the pastor of Redeemer Fellowship. Jen is passionate about theology and the connection to daily living.

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