As we reflect on the theme of remembering and thanking, I would like to thank everyone who came yesterday and worked hard setting up, bringing food, tearing down, and cleaning our Thanksgiving Potluck. We had a great time of food and fellowship!
But, ingratitude is a growing mark of our culture. I just got done watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the real one with Gene Wilder). 5 kids win a chance to visit the secretive and private chocolate factory, but each kid exhibits severe selfishness and disregard for others (Charlie shows little selfishness, so it’s mostly the other 4 bratty children in the story). And, you never hear them tell Mr. Wonka “Thank you”. He offers free candy and fun experiences, and their entitlement attitude (you know, the attitude that says, “I deserve” and “I want”) makes them demanding, rude, disobedient, and ultimately ejected from the free tour of the factory.
- Luke 17:11-19 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”
Because of the unsanitary issues surrounding leprosy, lepers were quarantined outside of communities with the Mosaic Law giving stern instructions for those with the disease. For thousands of years there was no cure for leprosy, yet oddly (prophetically), the Mosaic Law also gave instructions on what to do when you were cleansed from it. Jesus comes to earth and heals this incurable disease!
So, while travelling one day, He was passing into a village and has 10 lepers begging Him to heal them. He does so, and they all run off. But, one of the Samaritan lepers comes back to Him, falling on his face in worship, thanking Jesus for healing him!
How many times God has done things for me and I look back and sadly notice that I have been one of the nine, ungrateful, unthankful. That is what so often bothers me. In good or bad, God still loves us, cares for us, and holds our eternal soul in His hands. He deserves our continual thanks, our worship, our gratitude, and we need to remember we are not entitled to any of it.
- Do you often forget to thank God for His wonderful blessings, His mercy and grace in your life? _______________________________
- If so, then ask Him to forgive you now and to help you to be quick to offer thanks to Him.
- What are some ways that you can set up reminders in your life, in your house, in your workplace, to thank God throughout the day for the big and the little things? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Israel was often like the 5 children in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (well, all except Charlie). The children in the movie were mumbling, whining, griping, and spewing this all out to Willy Wonka, the one who didn’t have to, but was indeed offering them a lifetime supply of chocolate, a tour of his wonderful factory, and so forth. Much more significantly, the Israelites didn’t acknowledge what God had done for them in the Exodus, how He saved them, provided them food and water in the wilderness, and as soon as they could, they mumbled and griped about everything, even questioning whether He loved them and cared for them.
- Remember our passage in Psalm 77 today? Asaph spent time remembering and recalling all that God had done. What would happen to a church, any church, even our church, if we spent our time remembering what He has done, thanking Him for all the grace He has lavished upon us, and our great salvation? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Our church is not perfect (anywhere humans exist imperfection exists as well). But, God has graced us with so many wonderful people, a building that allows us to meet comfortably, a great location, and the list goes on. What are some things about our church that you can thank God for? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What problems would begin to disappear as our church becomes more grateful? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Pick 4 things to thank God for and offer that thanks to Him each day this week: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________