Scripture For Today:
1 Samuel 12:19
“The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”
Giving Thanks pt 3
We are in the season of “Thanksgiving” here in the United States, and these last few days we have been looking at the story of the 10 lepers to learn about “Thanksgiving.”
Now, Jesus says to these lepers, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
They look down at their bodies. The hands of one man are still mangled. Another man looks at his leg, which ends with a filthy rag at the knee. Another looks at his skin, and finds it as repulsive as ever.
In other words, all of these men were no better off than they had been ten minutes earlier, when they had first spotted the famous teacher.
And yet, they headed off in search of the priests. And on their way, they were healed. On their way, a hand reappeared, and tingled with life. A crutch tripped on a filthy rag, as it fell to the ground. The leg was back, healthy, whole, complete. The skin cleared, and the tiny hairs on a forearm turned from snow white to brown. One looked at the other, another looked at the rest, and the screaming started. The smiles broke into cheering, and a sweet madness. They raced off in the distance, not believing that the nightmare was finally over.
But in order for the miracle to happen, these men had to start walking in faith before their circumstances had changed one tiny bit.
You cannot wait until the problems are over to start walking in faith. You cannot put conditions on holy God. You cannot say, “Lord, as soon as there’s enough money, I follow your instructions.” You cannot pray, “Lord, if you’ll just solve this issue in my family, I’ll go to church.”
God might say, “Love me despite the disease. Obey me despite the lack of talent, or the lack of resources. Follow me now, despite the depression. Say no to the temptation, while it still is difficult. Praise me in the darkest of nights, and in the worst of circumstances.”
This is the nature of God, a God who loves you so much, He’ll give you the opportunity to be thankful when nothing about your circumstances gives you that motivation. My friends, that is the very definition of faith. If you praised God only on the good days, only in the best of circumstances, it would not be faith at all. That would be more like a business arrangement – and this is not about business!
Some of you are in horrible circumstances, right now. And what awaits you today, this week, is a forcing of the question. Will you be thankful despite the difficult circumstances? If so, you will have experienced faith.
One of the men came back to Jesus, and praised God. He was thankful. He was public about it. He was loud – he wasn’t shy at all.
Why was he so loud? This guy had been forced to yell for as long as he’d had leprosy. Had it been years? He’d probably yelled so long, he didn’t know how to come to the Lord quietly, or even in a normal voice. When he came back and fell at the feet of Jesus, he was just louder than the normal person, and he was praising God.
This is an amazingly short application point. This week, be sure you take time to acknowledge God for his goodness. Be sure to actually be thankful. Be sure to gather everyone up for a prayer of Thanksgiving that’s a real prayer of thankfulness. Don’t miss the opportunity to worship God this week. And be loud about it!
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