This year, as the family was preparing for Thanksgiving, a friend who owns The Cottage Bakery (click here to check it out), sent us a box of Thanksgiving cookies with a note of appreciation. It was truly a humbling (and delicious) experience, and it got me thinking about the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving.
Today, you may go around the table having people mention something they are thankful for. And being thankful is definitely a good thing. It means you are pleased or relieved with things. While this is a part of Thanksgiving, I believe there’s so much more. It isn’t just about being thankful for the blessings in your life.
Rather, it’s about showing appreciation to others for the things that you’re thankful for and not just saying ‘thanks’, but more so, giving thanks!
In Scripture, Luke tells a story about ten lepers that have an encounter with Jesus. These ten men, who have been dealing with a horribly debilitating disease, cry out to Jesus to have mercy on them. They are mentally, physically, and spiritually depleted. And in a cry of desperation, they plead with Jesus for help. Hearing their cries, He has mercy on them and tells them to go show themselves to the priest, as they would be healed on the way. And just as Jesus said it would happen, while on their way to see the priest, all ten are healed, a feat that I imagine all were very thankful for! No longer would they continue to rot from the inside out. No longer would they be forced to live in isolation alone. No longer would they be cast aside to die. I don’t believe being thankful was ever in doubt. But…
Here’s where we see a thankful heart going a step further by giving thanks. Luke continues, saying, “One of them, when he saw that 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.” While all ten were likely thankful, only ONE bothered giving thanks. The story continues, “Jesus asked, ‘Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this one?’ And Jesus said to the man, ‘Stand up and go. Your faith has saved you.’”
The one that returned received something so much greater than the other nine. Where all ten were healed physically, the one that that gave thanks was made whole. So often we only see the immediate needs that are directly in front of us. But through the act of giving thanks, we’re made complete.
Today, we all have something that we can be thankful for, no matter what season of life we may find ourself in. But I encourage you, as you celebrate Thanksgiving, use this as an opportunity for giving thanks. Take the time to show that you are grateful. Help out at the local food pantry with a box of stuffing or, better yet, by serving a meal. Maybe you can acknowledge a family member, friend or neighbor and the role they have played in your life (cookies are always a great touch). But most importantly, remember to give thanks to God for the blessings in your life, for the things you have and the opportunities yet to come.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward
While everyone can be thankful… let’s take it further by GIVING THANKS!
ABOUT PASTOR CORY JONES
Cory is a gifted communicator and teaches the Scriptures in a relevant and practical way.
He and his wife Melissa are gifted musicians and worship leaders.
They enjoy building relationships and promoting community.
They are blessed parents of three beautiful children