17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Luke 7:17- NKJV
By Bro. John L. Cash
Over the course of my teaching career, I taught 4th graders and 12th graders and every grade in between. I particularly enjoyed teaching middle school kids. They’re just beginning to test the waters of adolescence, and it’s wonderful to watch them grow up. Something we teachers always noticed about them is that they all had the same two goals: 1) They wanted to be attractive to others and 2) They wanted to stand out from the crowd. When you think about it, those two things are what all humans want; we all want to be noticed by other people and for them to have a favorable opinion.
As we mature in Christian faith, we begin to seek these same things in our relationship with God. We ask ourselves “What is most attractive to our Creator? And what things would make us stand out in His estimation?” The answer to both questions is gratitude.
Our attitude of gratitude brings about so many things that please our Maker. The Psalmist tells us it’s intrinsically good to give thanks to the Lord. But another reason to be thankful to God is that thanksgiving is the best remedy for evil. In the first chapter of the book of Romans, St. Paul teaches that rampant sin and corruption has its root in ingratitude. He said that when people are ungrateful, they become the worst of sinners. And when people are filled with loving gratitude, they become the best of saints. Surely, gratitude is the virtue that makes us attractive to God.
And if you’re looking for a virtue that sets you apart, gratitude surely fills the bill. In Luke’s Gospel, the Lord Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one returned to give Him thanks. I’d bet the Lord sees the same ratio today — but it’s probably 99% complaints and 1% gratitude. What joy it must give Him when we remember to give thanks.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 32 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa with his grandson, Landon Cash. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town. You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.