Transformed with Gratitude

In the few years since his retirement, my family spends half the year in Vietnam and Australia. While in Vietnam, some of their time is spent visiting orphanages and facilities that house and care for the institutionalized undesirable, the outcast, the lame and the sick. I admire my family; live to give missions and they have placed these principles in our lives. If you’ve read “my story” you’ll understand why he has so much to be thankful for. Over the years, they have shown their gratitude in many ways as a blessing to others. We have seen that they adhere to the principle that giving is happier than receiving. What a fine example to my brothers and me.

On this last trip, my family brought photos of some of the institutions they had visited. Seeing the living conditions, I could barely look at the photos without shedding my tears. Many of the residences were missing limbs; arms or legs, they are blind, and they have no opportunity to leave their hard bamboo beds unless someone dares to visit and help them get out of bed. These people have been so blessed by my family’s visit and generosity. The material gift they gave them helped to meet their basic daily needs, which they lacked due to deprived circumstances.

Seeing the photos and hearing their stories reminded me to be grateful for the life I have; family, friends, health and sometimes underestimated daily supplies. My mother shared with me that such exclusion was similar to what in Jesus’ day those with leprosy had to live outside the villages because they were considered unclean.

During my reading on Luke this morning, I came across a very powerful example of gratitude. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, passing a village of ten leper men who knew him from afar. They also heard how He performed great miracles. Leprosy is now compared to Hansen’s disease. Leprosy is a flesh-eating bacterial disease and often fingers and toes or limbs can be lost due to infections. At this time in history, anyone with this disease was sent to a leper colony, far from the community.

On that day there were ten lepers who saw Jesus and wept to Him and asked Him to have mercy on them. Jesus immediately answered them and told them to show themselves to the priestess. They must have thought to themselves, “What, how do we show ourselves in this situation?” You have to understand, in those days a priest has to confirm that you are free from or cured of leprosy before allowing you to return home or be with other people. However, these men were still full of leprosy when Jesus gave them these instructions. Mind you, if they went into town, they would probably be stoned or thrown out, but these men were not stupid… If Jesus had told them to see the priest and after hearing all the wonderful miracles He performed, they took heed. He doubted his instructions, if only for a moment. They probably knew in their hearts that Jesus was up to something!

These ten lepers left and headed towards the priest and received their healing “on the way.” They probably rolled up their sleeves and saw that their wounds had disappeared. Jesus was aware of the law of leprosy, and if they acted upon what he said; it was an indication of them or their faith. Therefore, he told them to show themselves to the priestess so that he could confirm that they were free of this disease. I bet they started running and couldn’t wait to tell about the miracle. Jesus knew what he was doing, and he knew that whatever they saw with their eyes, if they chose to go, they would be well before they reached their destination.

The story goes, seeing that only one of the lepers was cured, he fell on his face and thanked God. This man caught Jesus’ attention. Jesus answered the man, saying, “Wasn’t there ten? But where are the nine? Has anyone else returned but this man to glorify God?” As this leper returned to give thanks to God, Jesus blessed him even more. She told this man that her faith made her whole.

Healing is undoubtedly a miracle! The symptoms of the disease may have disappeared, perhaps some limbs were still missing even though the wounds had disappeared. But to be whole means nothing is missing, nothing is missing; complete; all; imperfect or not defective (Webster’s 1828). This tenth leper showed gratitude and gratitude and received a double blessing as a result of his healing. He not only recovered from leprosy, but whatever was missing in his body, in his life, Jesus made him whole again. The secret to being whole was gratitude. His life was changed with gratitude. (Luke 17:11-19)

You may not have leprosy, but is there anything missing or missing in your life today, complete, complete, imperfect or not? Did you find anything to be thankful for in your life? Even when it seems like all of Hell is unraveling, you can find something to be thankful for. Or you might say, “This is a good story from the Bible, but not for today, come on, we live in the twenty-first century.” Yes, we are… There is a saying, “If principles work, work by principles!” Principles never end!

I love what Rabbi Harold Kushner said: “If you focus on finding the good in every situation, you will find that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a soul-feeding emotion.”

This is real; The principle of gratitude will change your life. “You will set in motion an ancient spiritual law: The more you have and the more grateful you are, the more will be given to you.” (Sarah Ban Breathnach). And in everything, thank you! (1P. 5:18)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *