The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
Part 1 - "The Few"
Gratitude to God makes us whole.
"And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off, and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole " (Luke17:12-19).
The Lord Jesus Christ healed ten of leprosy. Only one thankfully acknowledged the Savior's healing work on his behalf. Thus, the Lord Jesus declared only one "whole." While this story may not represent the actual percentage of the human race regarding how many live in consistent gratitude to God, it is true that the masses go their way in blind indifference to the Giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift" (James 1:17).
"Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat" (Matthew 7:13).
"The Lord is good to all" declared the Psalmist (Psalm 145:9). Relatively few, however, acknowledge the God and Father of the Lord Jesus as their benefactor of undeserved grace and generosity. Relatively few, therefore, can be considered as whole, complete human beings. Because like the one leper, only those who live in consistent and growing gratitude to God know what it means to be truly human in relationship to the Divine. Indeed, spiritual and moral blindness results in failure to respond in this most obvious way to the God who, as the hymnwriter beautifully exults, "Out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again" ("He Giveth More Grace" - Annie J. Flint).
We want to be sure we are among the few. This requires not only our Heavenly Father's administration of provision, but also His working in our hearts to illuminate our minds to His giving, and also motivate our hearts to their thanksgiving. Human beings are not naturally thankful creatures. Consider that even before sin entered Adam's heart, the early chapters of Genesis do not record his giving thanks for any of God's blessings. This includes the gift of Eve, his wife. Rather than falling before his Lord to give thanks for such a sublime bestowal, Adam rather focused on himself. "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:23). This is not written as criticism of Adam, but rather to illustrate that gratitude to God is not inherent in human nature. Thus, we require His working in our hearts by the Holy Spirit to reveal the goodness of God, and to elicit the proper response of thanksgiving in our hearts and upon our lips.
The gratitude we reference does not involve saying "Thank You" to merely utter words or follow ritual. The leper who returned clearly felt deep conviction and emotion regarding the Lord's healing of his body. Christ touched Him physically. The Holy Spirit touched his heart. We all require this internal working in order to be made whole regarding God's giving and our receiving. Of course, this does not mean the Holy Spirit coerces or programs our thanksgiving. Such gratitude would mean little to God. We do, however, require frequent reminders and inspirations by the Spirit and the Scriptures in order to maintain our awareness that we have nothing that does not originate and proceed from our Father's kind generosity.
"Make us truly thankful, Lord." In previous generations, this request was frequently uttered in mealtime expressions of thanksgiving. We do well to hear and follow the echoes of gratitude: "Father, reveal to us more and more that You are the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and may Your Spirit lead us to the altar of gratitude whereupon we will freely give thanks. Because Lord, we want to be among the few who return to express our appreciation, and thus, the few to made whole."
"He is kind unto the unthankful."
"Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy name: the upright shall dwell in Thy presence."
Weekly Memory Verse
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
(I John 1:3)