2,000 years ago there were 10 men with an infectious disease that caused severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms, face, and legs. Needless to say, these men were social outcasts, written off by society as inferior and worthless.

And then this happened in Luke 17:11-19, “As Jesus was going into a village, the ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’

They were desperate, helpless, and begging Jesus to do something no one else had done: Notice them. Care about them. Love them.

“When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, 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.”

2 simple words that can change our life: Thank you.

But only one out of ten turned around to thank Jesus? Too busy. Too distracted. Too self-focused.  Too task-driven. Too proud.

Too entitled? (Unlike the Samaritan, the other 9 men were most likely Jewish and took the healing for granted.)

What would you have done? I’d like to think I would have come back and given Jesus a big bear hug. But the reality is I’m most likely like the other nine.

Check out Jesus’ reaction, “He asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’  Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.

Did you catch that? His faith made him well. But wasn’t he already well? You see, it’s one thing to be healed and saved and made better. But it’s a whole other thing to be thankful and recognize the source of our salvation.

We’ve been set free to live free.

And when we say thanks to God for what He’s done, it’s almost like we become even healthier. Something happens in our mind, heart, and soul when we slow down, take a deep breath, and say “Thank you.” A calm. A peace. A simple joy that isn’t contingent on circumstances.

Thankful people are healthy people. Life doesn’t revolve around us or owe us anything. All we have is a gift given to us by a generous God.

And when we say “Thank you,” we choose humility over pride. Gratitude over entitlement.

When we cultivate a heart of thankfulness, this changes our life. It changes our perspective when life throws us a curve ball. It changes how we spend our time, use our talents, and give our money.

And maybe being grateful to God helps us be faithful to Him. Maybe being thankful with our lips helps us be faithful with our lives. Because thankfulness breeds faithfulness. We want to live for the One who gave us all we have.

When was the last time you praised God and threw yourself at his feet and thanked him?

Remember, God wants us to thank Him not because He needs it. But because we need it. He knows that the key to unlock pure joy in our lives is a grateful heart.

So may we slow down long enough to notice we’ve been healed and cleansed from a terrible disease called sin. And may we see every little moment each day, every conversation, every dime, every ray of sunshine, every sip of clean water, and every breath as good gifts from a loving Father.

Here are the top 5 things I am thankful for right now.  What is your top 5?

#1. A forgiving and compassionate God who loves me even when I am faithless and thankless.

#2. A wife who accepts me for who I am, encourages me when I am down, and challenges me to pursue God’s call on my life.

#3. A son and two daughters who remind me to die to myself, to not take myself too seriously, to keep my eyes on the road, and to enjoy the small special moments like spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen.

#4. A job that gives me a front-row seat to witness hundreds of lives literally transformed by the kind love of Jesus.

#5. The Ohio State Buckeyes (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

What about you?

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