Gratitude for God’s good gifts

Posted Jul 8, 2017

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Daily Scripture

Luke 17:11-19

11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”

14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

Psalm 126:1-6

1 When the LORD changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
    it was like we had been dreaming.
2 Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
    our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
    “The LORD has done great things for them!”
3 Yes, the LORD has done great things for us,
    and we are overjoyed.
4 LORD, change our circumstances for the better,
    like dry streams in the desert waste!
5 Let those who plant with tears
    reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
6 Let those who go out,
    crying and carrying their seed,
    come home with joyful shouts,
    carrying bales of grain!

Reflection Questions

Jesus healed a group of ten lepers—men with visible skin diseases, shunned and outcast. Of the ten, only a Samaritan came back to say “thank you.” This real-life experience echoed Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan. Israel’s long history included incredibly low times of misery at the hands of tyrants (notably exile in Babylon—cf. 2 Kings 24:13-14, 25:11). It also included their joyous gratitude for God’s action to deliver them from exile. Psalm 126 poetically recalled the gladness of the times when God lifted Israel up from their lowly status, and prayed that God would again allow them to live in the joy of divine deliverance.

  • Unlike the story in Luke 17, where only one of ten bothered to say “thank you,” Ephesians 5:20 invited God’s people to “always give thanks to God the Father for everything.” Whatever your current problems, take time to list anything you’re thankful for (e.g. a glorious sunset, a child’s giggle, the velvety texture of a dog’s ears, your favorite meal, a roof over your head, Jesus' love) and thank God for it. Make a game of it—make daily gratitude your way of life. The second half of Psalm 126 was a confident prayer, trusting that the same God who delivered in the past would do it again. How can weaving the practice of gratitude into your life help you to pray, and mean, the words of the psalm: “Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts”?

Prayer

Lord, it’s easy for me to celebrate the raise, the new job, the healthy new baby. I wish it weren’t so easy for me to forget my gratitude every time things don’t turn out as I’d wished. Make me more and more like the Samaritan who remembered to express gratitude. Amen.

Family Activity

As a family, discuss your response to each of these scenarios:

  • A new person comes to your Sunday school class and doesn’t know anyone.
  • The person standing in front of you at the grocery store drops a dollar.
  • Your neighbor is an older woman and lives alone. A storm comes and all her trash cans fall over.

 Talk together about ways to respond and serve in each of these situations. This week ask each other, “How did you serve someone today? Was there a time you chose not to serve or decided you were too busy? How can you do better tomorrow?” Pray together and ask God to help you serve others.

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