The Power of Thanksgiving
A month ago, I was in one of my favorite stores when I noticed they were putting up Christmas stuff. When I got to the cash register, I commented to the nice lady, “Wow, Christmas stuff already! It is sad that we have forgotten all about Thanksgiving.” Our nation has been so blessed, yet we are moving more and more away from thanking God for His blessings.
One day, Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, and on His way, He encountered ten lepers. You can find this story in Luke 17:11-19. These lepers stood far off and yelled to Jesus for His mercy. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests. This was what needed to happen before they were allowed back into society. As they were going, they were cleansed. The Greek word ekkatristhesan is translated into English as cleansed. This word means to be healed, cleansed, or purified from a disease. All these lepers were healed of their disease.
Then, the story takes a sad turn. Only one came back to thank Jesus for what He did. Verse 16 tells us that this man was a Samaritan. In other words, he was despised by the Jews and considered an outcast. He may have had a bad attitude toward the Jews, but that changed. He now falls on his face at Jesus’ feet and gives thanks to Jesus. Jesus asks were there not ten that were cleansed? Where are the other nine? Luke 17:18 says, “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” That tells us that the other nine were Jewish but unthankful and probably more concerned with getting on with their lives than this Samaritan.
Jesus then says to the Samaritan, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” The Samaritan’s faith was displayed in his thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is always a display of our faith. When we give thanks to God for all He has done, we are acknowledging He has done it. Notice with me what Jesus said next, “Your faith has made you well.” Jesus said something different to this thankful person. The others were cleansed, but this man was made well. The word well is the Greek word sozo, which many times means saved. It can also mean restored, compete like the original. Leprosy is a disease that can eat away ears, nose, hair, fingers, and toes. We don’t know what this man had experienced, but we do know that now he was not only clean from leprosy, but every part of him was restored!
Thanksgiving is a powerful force that brings us to restoration and completeness. David often wrote of his thankfulness to the Lord. The Hebrew word for thanksgiving is todah. In Psalms 100, David used that word in verse 4 when he wrote, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” David was a man who remained thankful even when his life was threatened. It was his thankful heart that brought him to the place as king of Israel. That power of thanksgiving will bring us to the place of restoration and completeness. Not only will we be cleansed, but we will be made whole!
In this beautiful Thanksgiving season, I pray that we will be thankful no matter what the circumstances are around us. Thanksgiving has rescued the prisoner, healed the sick, and brought many into the destiny that God has for them. Be thankful!