Sunday, November 19, 2017

There's Gratitude ... and then there's GRATITUDE!

November is my favorite month of the year! The changing of seasons speaks to my soul. I've truly enjoyed all the colors of autumn in our new home. These pictures were taken just a few days apart. Isn't it amazing that we get to enjoy God's handiwork year after year, season after season? He is quite the artist!

Then there is my birthday, celebrated in the middle of the month. I'm old enough now that birthdays aren't that big of a deal. There are only three people on the planet that are required to remember my special day -- hubby and our two boys -- and honestly, they wouldn't be able to forget it if they tried! Ha! 

But each birthday is also a reminder of how blessed I am that God gave me wonderful Christ-loving parents. Our family was far from perfect, as most families are, but the one constant throughout every day of my life was the unconditional love given me by my Mom and Dad. They're both in heaven now enjoying the blessed presence of our Lord and Savior, joining in that "great cloud of witnesses" the author of Hebrews spoke of in Hebrews 12:1.
Mommy and me 54 years ago
When I make my list of blessings this week, my sweet Mommy and Daddy are right there at the top. 

But as we come into Thanksgiving week, I'm pondering what true gratitude looks like. Although you don't typically think of this biblical story at Thanksgiving time, I believe it gives us a true picture of gratitude. 

In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem when he encounters ten men with leprosy. Lepers, as you probably know, were considered unclean and couldn't live among their loved ones and friends. I'm sure theirs was a life of misery, loneliness, and despair. Without modern medicine, skin conditions didn't just clear up on their own, forcing people to live their entire lives as outcasts. 

When the lepers see Jesus, they call to him: "Master, have mercy on us." Have you ever said those words to the Lord? I have, and thankfully, he did, in the same way he did that long ago day on the road.

"Go," Jesus says. "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." 

I'm sure the other nine men were thrilled they'd been cleansed. Jesus had basically given them their lives back. But were they grateful? Did they praise God, as the Samaritan did by his act of returning to Jesus, falling at his feet, and thanking him? 

It may sound odd, but this Thanksgiving I want to be like a Samaritan leper. I don't want to take all the many, many blessings God has given me for granted. From the smallest to the largest, I want to thank my Lord, my God with a truly grateful heart. From my family heritage, to my sweet husband of thirty-plus years, to my two beautiful sons, to the wonderful new job and home we are thoroughly enjoying, to the many friends and extended family, to the freedoms we enjoy in this country, to the bounty that will be on our table Thursday afternoon ... thank you, Jesus!! Without you and your sacrifice on the cross, I would have nothing. 



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