'I just wanna thank you'
I love the idea of a Thanksgiving holiday—I wish my country celebrated the time. What a wonderful idea to put aside a day to do that. We have much to be thankful for. But, so often we get sidetracked by the mechanics involved around big holidays and family gatherings—getting to the venue, the food we need to prepare, that uncle or cousin who always causes trouble.... the list goes on.
This reminds me of the passage in the Bible, “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:16.).
Jesus himself wondered what happened to the nine other men who were also healed. Maybe they were so focused on doing the right thing (going to the priest) that they got distracted. Or maybe they thought of all the other things they still lacked. “Yes, I’m healed, but I still don’t have a job/ I’m healed but I’m still not happy about the way I look/ I’m healed but I still don’t have a life partner.” Or they took the healing for granted. “Pfft! Jesus is a Jewish healer/rabbi/the Messiah, it’s his job to fulfill requests.” Many times, we are just like those nine men, although we'd never admit it.
The Samaritan man was not obliged to go show himself to the priest, and that’s why he could return to the healer, Jesus. By doing so, he learned the integral part that his faith played—he acted before there was evidence that he’d be healed, and he got an extra blessing. Jesus told him, “Go, your faith has made you whole”. Jesus transformed him physically and spiritually.
Joy springs from a grateful heart (I have a mug to remind me of that). When you are thankful, it’s hard to stay grumpy; when you’re thankful for your spouse or children, you’ll speak to them more kindly; when you’re thankful for your job, your attitude will be different and you’ll put in a better effort.
A few years ago, I learned how easy it is to ask God for something and then forget to thank him. A Bible discussion group that I was a part of met at the start of the year. After reflecting on the scripture in Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”, the speaker encouraged us to write a list of “impossibles” and put it before God. We went wild and wrote a long list!
Towards the end of the year, I stumbled across the list and was astounded to see that, as a group, we received most of what we’d asked for. It was so faith building. We forget so easily, that’s why a prayer journal is very useful. Just don’t forget to look at it again at the end of the year.
In Sunday school, I learned a song based on the passage in Luke 17. I went like this: “I just want to take a little time right now and thank you, Lord. For what you’ve done for me. Thank you, Lord, I just wanna thank you, I just wanna thank you.”
Put yourself in the shoes of the person who receives the words of thanks. Doesn’t it just warm your heart? I’m sure Jesus’ heart was warmed by the Samaritan man, and he went a step further with another blessing.
In relationships, it’s easy to take those close to you for granted—because they are there. But why not reverse the trend, and thank someone (while they are still alive, or still part of your life during the season you are in).
What are you thankful for, and who do you need to thank?