Devotion in Motion: Don’t be bratty

Luke 17:17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?  Luke 17:17  NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash

A couple of years ago I wrote a column about all the animals that stop by our house to eat a snack (or full meal) every day. Well, just so you know, I’m still running a cat café here. All the regulars stop by every day (even the opossum.) And we’ve recently been getting daily visits from a beautiful yellow tomcat I call “Sonny.” He’s a bit skittish, but he’s getting more comfortable around me all the time.

I’m feeding so many stray cats that I have to purchase a 21-pound sack of dry food every month. I order it from Amazon Prime, and the UPS man has to drag it up to my doorstep. One time he said, “Brother John, your barbells are here.” I bet the delivery guys liked it better before the internet companies started shipping cat food all over America for them to deliver.

I buy the same kind of cat food every month. It’s “Little Friskies Surfin’ & Turfin’ Favorites.” There’s a reason why it’s always the same flavor. One time I ordered too late and I ran out before it got here. So, I went to the store and bought a little bag to use in the meantime. It wasn’t a generic. It was just a different flavor of Little Friskies. “Little Friskies Grillers” to be exact.  I thought I was being a nice guy. Imagine my shock the next morning when I looked outside and saw 6 homeless cats lining up to voice their complaints. Evidently they don’t approve of cat food that only tastes like sirloin and ribeye. They’ll only eat the kind that has seven varieties of seafood AND steak.

I’ve always heard that “beggars can’t be choosers.” But in this instance, I guess they can.

This little story teaches an important spiritual lesson. Gratitude isn’t built into the universe. Homeless cats are not naturally grateful. And people are not naturally grateful either. Before you go to bed tonight, read the Bible story in Luke 17:11-19. It tells how Jesus healed ten men who had leprosy. And out of the ten, only one came back to give thanks—and he was a foreigner!

I’ve always taught this lesson as, “Jesus didn’t get gratitude. So you shouldn’t expect it either.” But I’ve kind of changed my view, and I think it’s a more profound lesson. Everybody wants to be a person who “stands out”— you know, someone who does something remarkable. One of the best ways to do that is to be a thankful, grateful person. Not only will you be extraordinary, you’ll be beautiful. And our Heavenly Father will be pleased, too.

So, this week, don’t be bratty. And certainly, don’t be catty. Be grateful for all the good things the Lord sends your way.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 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. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where we’ve had a rainy week after lots of extremely hot weather.) You can send him a note at