One day a Grandma was writing out yet another birthday check for her grandson. As she signed the $50 check, she paused and thought, “This will be the fourth year that I’ve sent my grandson a Birthday card with money in it, and I haven’t even gotten a thank you from him… not once.” As she came to this painful conclusion, she became incredibly sad. Her grandson lived in a different state, she hadn’t seen him since he became a teenager, and this was his 16th Birthday. The grandmother started to reason within herself, “If he’s going to take my gifts for granted and not show any appreciation, then I won’t send him any money this time. If he can’t even say thank you, well, then, I don’t need to be generous.” This made perfect sense to the woman and she sealed the Birthday card without the check enclosed.
Now, that may seem harsh, but there’s a certain level of dishonor that comes when someone does not show gratitude. Often older people can’t travel for hours to see their grandchildren, so they will send money to show that they care. When there is no acknowledgement of having received a gift, the sender can feel forgotten and unappreciated.
In light of that, let me just say, “Thank You” to all of the grandparents out there. If it makes you feel any better, even God Himself wasn’t always properly thanked.
“While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’” Luke 17:11-19
From what I know about leprosy in Bible times, it was nothing to play around with. It was highly contagious and deadly, and people were understandably fearful of it. If you were sent to live in a leper colony, you could never go home again. Your fate was sealed. These ten lepers were desperate but somehow they knew Jesus could do miracles. They all cried out to Jesus to heal them, and He healed them all, but only one came back to thank Him. That’s truly amazing to me. Every one of these guys had a death sentence hanging over his head, but suddenly, they were cleansed, healed, no more leprosy! All of a sudden they have a future again… a hope to live a long and normal life with the rest of society. No one told the one guy to come back, but no one should have had to.
If you can’t be thankful for the gift of life, then what can you be thankful for? That’s a good question. Are there things in our lives that God has done for us that we haven’t thanked Him for? An answered prayer, an unexpected blessing, hot running water, indoor plumbing, our arms and legs, the gift of sight? What if God is always writing us checks and giving us cards to celebrate who we are, and we don’t even acknowledge His gifts? I wonder if God feels unappreciated sometimes. Personally, I’m going to try to do better in this area. I sure don’t want to be like those nine and take my healing and run without so much as a thank you to the One responsible.
If we’re not careful, we could cause God to withhold blessings that He truly wants to give us to enjoy, not to mention the hurt our ungrateful hearts will cause to our awesome God Who loves us.
The last thing I want to do is make God feel like His work in me is a thankless job.
Let’s be thankful out there!