Do we give thanks to God? If so, do we thank God for our good deeds or for his grace and mercy?
I want us to learn that we ought to thank God for him.
We will discuss good and bad thanks, and how that relates to complete healing.
Wrong and right thanksgiving
In Luke 18:11 Jesus spoke of the wrong kind of thanksgiving. It is the kind that is filled with national or personal or racial pride and arrogance. It is the kind of thanksgiving we hear people pray sometimes even in church. I remember hearing prayers similar to, “Thank you God that I was born a [you name the country or sex or race or social status], the best there is.” Such lack of humility is really a kind of self-delusion, a lack of willingness to face the truth. In Luke 17:11-19 is the exact opposite, the right kind of thanksgiving. It is exuberant, enthusiastic and demonstrative thanksgiving. How many of our more reserved church members go wild when their favorite sports team wins, but express unenthusiastic, halfhearted and passionless thanks to God, unlike the Samaritan who gave thanks?
In Luke 17:11-19 and 18:11 contrasts two thanksgiving prayers, a Jewish Pharisee and a Samaritan leper. Samaria contained a mixed-race people who only recognized the books of Moses. There was racial and religious tension between the two groups. Luke recorded James and John wanting to punish them, the Good Samaritan story and this thankful Samaritan. He also wrote Acts and recorded Philip’s Gospel work in Samaria. The Pharisee was physically pure. The Samaritan was unclean. The Pharisee believed he was better than everyone else. The Samaritan knew he was not. The Pharisee gave thanks in the holy temple. The Samaritan was on a road but also at Jesus’ feet. The Pharisee was thankful for what he has done. The Samaritan was thankful for what Jesus had done. The Pharisee praised himself. The Samaritan praised Jesus. What about us?
One of the words used by Christians for the partaking of the bread and wine is Eucharist. It comes from the Greek word for what Jesus did that night he instituted one of Christianity’s most sacred rituals, he gave thanks (Matthew 26:27). The Greek word for thanks is from eucharisteo. It is in one sense a thanksgiving “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup.” Thanksgiving is part and parcel of the Christian life every day of the year, not just once a week or once a year. Praise and thanksgiving are vital parts of Christian worship. In the story of the thankful Samaritan (Luke 17:11-19) we are see how only one demonstrated any thanks. The other nine may have been thankful in heart, but they did not show it. In worshiping God we also give thanks.
Ten healed, one is well
A strange thought comes from the story of the thankful Samaritan (Luke 17:11-19), ten were healed but only one was pronounced well. What could that mean? Could it be that without thankfulness we are not completely well, even though our disease is cured? Could it be that giving praise to God is part of being completely well and not just physical healing alone? Could it be that faith is part of being completely well? Could it be that without thanksgiving our faith is not complete? Could it be that there is a spiritual component to wellness that goes beyond mere physical healing alone? Could it be that complete wellness includes body, mind and spirit? Physical healing is temporary. We will all die eventually. Salvation is often pictured in the Bible as eternal healing, a wellness far beyond medical science?
We thank God weekly in song, prayers and other forms of worship. Do we know what it means? Do we mean it from the heart?