Thanks seems to be a word that is used less and less in this culture. People seem to expect to be served, and it doesn't cross their minds to thank the person serving them.
Luke 17:11-37 tells the story of 10 lepers who were cleansed by Jesus. Only one returned to thank Jesus for healing him. Jesus asked where the other nine were, and then He told the leper who thanked Him that his faith had made him whole. Did something else occur when this leper gave thanks to Jesus? Wasn't he already made whole when Jesus healed the ten lepers?
I believe the one who gave thanks received a deeper healing than just the skin on his body. He received a healing in his heart. His heart was made whole, and he received the love of God in all of its fullness when he made the effort to return and give thanks to the Lord. We too will always receive a healing for our hearts when we give thanks to the Lord in everything.
We are exhorted in the Word to give thanks in everything and for everything. I used to resist the verse that exhorted us to give thanks for all things, because it was difficult for me to give thanks for some of the trials I experienced in this life. However, when I look back at these trials, I realize that God used them to build character in me and to also cause others to see God's glory through me as I went through fiery trials without being burned or bitter. Now I can give thanks for all things, even those things God allows Satan to use against me. I have to remember that no weapon that is formed against me will prosper, and ultimately the very weapons Satan uses against me will be used for my good to bring me into a deeper understanding of spiritual warfare or to build more of God's character into my life.
Grace abounds through thanksgiving, and when I have a grateful heart no matter what I am experiencing, I place myself in the position to receive more of God's grace. No matter what we are going through, we can always find something to be grateful for. I heard someone say if you can't find something to thank God for, just thank Him for the fluid in your eyeballs. We take so much for granted in this life, but a grateful heart will take nothing for granted. The one who has a grateful heart sees everything as a gift from God and he gives God the glory. I would much rather be around people who are grateful than people who murmur and complain all the time. Griping charges the atmosphere with the negative, but a grateful heart gifts the atmosphere with grace, love and joy.
We used to sing a song, "Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don't mess with Mr. In Between." Mr. In Between is the devil, and we latch on to him every time we murmur and complain instead of being grateful.
Lord, help me always to have a grateful heart.
READ: Joshua 11:1-12:24; Luke 17:11-37; Psalm 84:1-12; Proverbs 13:5-6
Linda Sommer is the author of Around the Word in 365 Days, from which this article is excerpted.