What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln wrote these words:
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
We witness the same attitude of ingratitude in Luke 17:11-17.
“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!'”
David Redding, in his book titled “Miracles of Christ,” described the disease of leprosy vividly:
“No other disease can touch its hideous talent for mixing agony with horror. It strikes a small spot on the skin silently, like a viper, and no one notices until the dreaded numbness sets in and the deathly snow-white color gives it away.
“Then the victim is subjected to a savage siege of terror as the killer advances slowly, relentlessly, spreading like a venomous stain, finger by finger, often erasing the face first, leaving behind a messy trail of ugly scabs and open sores. The hands are frozen into claws long before they drop off. The feet boil up into bandaged stumps before they are left behind.
“The flesh rots off, bones give up, inch by creeping inch. Where it stops nobody knows. In odor and appearance, leprosy has no competitor."
“When he saw them, he said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed.
“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him — and he was a Samaritan.
“Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'” (Luke 17:14-19)
In this story, Jesus healed ten men of one of the most hideous, terrifying, contagious diseases that has ever been and only one had the decency to go back to Jesus to say, “thank you.”
The truth is, if you are in Christ, you have been delivered from a far more dangerous disease than leprosy. On the cross, Jesus took our disease of sin upon Himself and offers us forgiveness, healing, freedom, new life, hope and an eternal home in heaven.
Jack Hinton went with his church on a short term mission trip to a leper colony in Tobago. On the last day of the trip, he was leading worship and said to the congregation, “We have time for one more song, does anyone have a request?”
A woman who had sat with her back to him, raised up her arm and turned around. Her face was profoundly disfigured. The leprosy had eaten away most of her nose and had virtually erased her lips and ears, and had left behind scars and open sores.
She raised her fingerless hand and said, “Can we please sing, 'Count Your Many Blessings'?”
He started the song, but was so overcome with emotion he couldn't finish. A friend later said, “Jack, I'll bet you'll never be able to sing that song again will you?” He said, “No, I'll sing it again, but I will never sing it the same way.”
What do you need to thank God for today?
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.“ (1Thessalonians 5:18)
Russ Whitten is a ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery of Destin (which meets every Monday evening at 6:45 p.m. at Destin United Methodist Church - 200 Beach Drive, Destin) and preaches every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. at the Henderson Beach State Park Worship Service - #destinbeachworship - and then preaches at 1 p.m. at The Downtown Church, meeting at Enlightened Studios, 144 Miracle Strip Parkway SE in Fort Walton Beach. He can be reached at email@example.com.