A Grateful Heart
A grateful heart is the fertile soil of many blessings. An ungrateful heart is the soil of many miseries. The Word says, “in everything give thanks.” In Luke 17 there is a story about ten lepers. This is the anatomy of ungrateful hearts. Of the ten lepers, only one returned to give thanks. Sin springs from an ungrateful heart.
Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. On his way he passed through Galilee and Samaria. The Jews avoided going through Samaria. They considered Samaritans half breeds who had interbred with unbelievers. Jesus often did what was against the cultures of his times. However, he always did the Father’s will. As he and his disciples were walking they passed a leper colony. The lepers were outcasts of their society. Ten lepers cried out in their misery, “Master, have mercy on us!” These lepers knew that they were desperate and in need. They had nowhere to turn. When Jesus showed up, they knew that they had hope. When they addressed Jesus as Master, they acknowledged that he had the power over sin and the consequences of sin. We have no control over the circumstances of our own lives. However, when Jesus shows up there is hope of redemption from the consequences of sin and the misery of this world.
In times of blessing, when we get the promotion or the reward for accomplishments, the world will give us accolades. However, when we’re downtrodden and defeated: when we’re overcome with disease, when we lose our jobs or our wives, God wants to know, “whatever the outcome of this situation, will you still honor, praise, and love me above all?” In God’s eyes, there is neither good news or bad news, it’s just news. Whatever the situation, this too shall pass. Isaiah 55 says, “My ways are not your ways says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth so much higher are my thoughts than your thoughts and my ways than your ways.” God’s plans are for our blessing in glorifying him. According to Oswald Chambers, from 1 Corinthians 6:19, “do you not know that you are not your own?” You have been bought with a price, the precious innocent blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’re no longer owners of our own lives. When we’re saved, it’s not about who we are, but rather, whose we are. The closest communion we can have with Lord is to enter into the fellowship of his suffering. Despite the circumstances and situations of life, the main question is, “no matter what happens, will you still honor, love, and serve me? ”
God has called us to be his “Living epistles” known and read of all men. We’re the only bible some people will ever read.
Pete relates that after he had graduated from Auburn, Suzan told Pete that she had a new beau that she had met while in Mexico. Pete’s reaction wasn’t what she had expected. Pete said that he only wanted to do the Lord’s will. If that was God’s plan, then he was blessed that she had found a new beau. Suzan was taken aback. She fell in love with the new man that Pete had become. God had changed Pete’s heart when he had prayed, “Lord I know I’m not the man you meant for me to be, Lord please make me that man.” Susan was so surprised at Pete’s response that she said, “let’s just get married.”
When Jesus met the Lepers, they were at the point of repentance, of turning their lives around. Jesus said to them, “go show yourselves to the priest.” On their way to see the priest, they were healed. Deliverance is in obedience to the Word of God. However, only one of the lepers returned to Jesus to give thanks. He was a Samaritan. This would have shocked the Jews that only the Samaritan returned to give thanks.
What does the Lord require? God wants us blessed… Not in circumstances and positions in this world, but blessed in our fellowship with him. For what doth the lord require of thee but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. All God asks is a heart of awe and gratitude. God will honor our prayer, like Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will but thine be done.” God has given us his way for the purpose of his redemption. There will be pain, and trial, and tribulation along the way. Along the journey, we will share in the fellowship of His suffering. God will break our hearts for what breaks his. As Paul said, “thy strength is made perfect in my weakness, thy grace is sufficient for me.”
The only leper who returned with a heart of gratitude was the Samaritan. Even though Jesus said to go see the priest who would declare him cleansed, he returned to the true high priest Jesus Christ himself.
Even though we’re not always healed from physical diseases, when we approach the throne of grace, he will heal our broken heart when we enter into the fellowship of his suffering.
As the psalmist penned in Psalm 100:
“MAKE a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,