“Living A Grateful Life”
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising
God with a loud voice… Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go on your
way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17: 15, 19
What would happen if we let thankfulness change our lives? On Thanksgiving, we
traditionally acknowledge the good things in life. We count our blessings and remember that God has taken care of us for another year. Families and friends and congregations gather together and celebrate with abundant meals as we kick-off the holiday season.
For many, this is a very happy and meaningful time during which we are reminded of so many reasons to be grateful. It is also an opportunity to ponder the powerful potential of living each and every day of the year as transformed people centered in a spirit of gratitude.
We learn something about this from the Gospel story of the ten lepers found in Luke 17:11-19. From this passage, it is clear that all ten lepers are healed and rejoice because of the miracle. But nine of the ten choose to follow the basic law and cultural expectation: They go to show themselves to the priests. One of the ten is overwhelmed with gratitude for this incredible healing. He was so moved by the experience that he couldn’t just continue on with his life as it had been before he contracted the disease. This moment was not just the end of a difficult period of his life. It was a transformational experience that caused him to reevaluate everything. So, he paused. He separated himself from the small band of healed people, and he alone chose a different path. He began glorifying God as he ran back, and fell at Jesus’ feet offering his gratitude.
Clearly, the real healing miracle in the story is not the cleansing of ten lepers but the transformation of the one who makes the intentional choice to glorify God. It is this action that prompts Jesus to declare, “Your faith has made you well.”
Many of us know the joy of physical, emotional or spiritual healing after a devastating chapter in our lives. Typically, we react like the majority of those healed in the Gospel story. We acknowledge the gift of healing or blessing when it comes. Thankfulness is our response. But then, we move forward as custom and culture dictate. We are certainly grateful. But that gratitude is grounded in our desire to get back to living life the way it used to be.
But what would it be like if we turned around and chose to live life differently? How might our faith be invigorated if we embraced a daily life of gratitude in which every encounter and every interaction of each day was blanketed in thankfulness? What might it mean to live our lives motivated by thanksgiving? Can you imagine gratitude as not only a response to an experience of surprising joy or unanticipated blessing but as a way of life? Perhaps as we choose to live our lives centered in gratitude we will live a life in the fullness of Jesus’ proclamation, “Your faith has made you well.”
Grace & Peace,