Gratitude is a powerful attitude. It changes our perspective and feelings from negative to positive. It transforms the way we handle pressures and problems. It lifts the spirits of people around us. It overhauls the spiritual and emotional atmosphere of any environment it invades.
Unfortunately gratitude is rare. Most of us prefer to grumble and complain our way through life, focusing on the things we lack or dislike rather than on the good things we have been given. Human nature just seems to work this way.
To grow a grateful heart requires a fight. We must war against the downward pull of our human nature. We must choose to go in the opposite direction of the crowd.
There is a great story in the Bible that describes the rarity of gratitude and the blessings that come to people who go against the flow of their sinful and selfish nature and express it.
In Luke 17:11-19 we find the story of ten lepers who came to Jesus to be healed. Jesus responded to their request and healed them all. He then sent them to the priests for the confirmation of their healing. They all left Jesus’ presence with a radically changed life. But sadly, none of them said “thank you” to Jesus for what He had done for them.
At some point, one of these ten men was conscience-stricken. He realized that he had failed to communicate his gratitude to Jesus for what Jesus had done for him. He decided to make this right. Take a look at the decision he made:
“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back to Jesus shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him for what He had done … ” — Luke 17:15, 16 (NLT)
Notice how Jesus responded to the gratitude expressed by this man:
“Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And Jesus said to the man, ‘Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you,'” — Luke 17:17-19 (NLT)
Think about it. Only one out of ten showed gratitude to Jesus. The other nine went their way self-absorbed, with no apparent thought of thanking the One who changed their lives. I suppose that the percentage is about the same today!
The one man who said thanks to Jesus had to go against the flow of his friends. He made a journey back to Jesus that others were not willing to make. And his journey was worth it. Not only did he experience joy and fulfillment by expressing his gratitude to the Lord, he also received a second blessing from Jesus that the others didn’t receive.
What about you? Which group are you in? Are you like the nine self-absorbed men or are you like the one grateful man?
Let’s choose to fight against the negative pull of our human nature and the flow of the ungrateful crowd. Let’s be one out of ten who cultivate and communicate gratitude to God and others!