The holiday season naturally seems to remind us to express gratitude and thankfulness for all of our blessings and to give generously to those around us. However, it also can be one of the hardest and busiest seasons, distracting us from truly pausing and giving praise to the Lord for all that he has done (including those unanswered prayers). There is real power in taking our heart of gratitude a step farther and actually expressing thankful praise to the Lord.
In Luke 17 we read about Jesus healing 10 lepers.
“As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” (Luke 17:11-19 NLT)
Living with leprosy in those times was to live a cursed life. Hebrew law mandated them unclean people who must live separate from the rest of the community. Can you imagine? These were probably people who at one time had a normal life. People who were involved in their community, held jobs, maybe even highly respected positions, who had spouses and families. People who were now reduced to living in isolation with other lepers, begging for help, and hoping to be healed from their affliction.
Can you feel the desperation these people had? Can you hear their voices crying out to Jesus?
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13 NLT)
These people were not just crying out to be healed, they were asking for their lives back, for the curse of this unclean skin disease to be lifted. What liberation for these 10 men!
But, only one of them returned to give praise. All 10 of them were healed. And I would guess that all 10 felt some sort of gratitude for their healing. But only one man was so overwhelmed with thankfulness that he returned to worship at the feet of Jesus, giving God the glory. In his obedience and faith, not only was his body healed, his soul was saved. 10 men healed and one man saved. All because he paused to give praise to the God who made him, who healed him, and saved him through Jesus Christ.
“Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.” (Luke 17:19 MSG)
This man’s praise overflowed from the genuine love he had for Jesus in his heart. A praise that forever altered his life on earth and eternity.
I encourage you this holiday season to not only practice building an attitude of gratitude, but also pausing for praise. If this is new to you, practice praising God with his scripture. Use his words to develop a heart where your love for him is genuine and the praise simply flows.
So lets pause for a moment and take our hearts of gratitude a step farther and praise Him for all of his goodness. Praise Him for things both seen and unseen, complete and incomplete. Praise Him for the Lord’s compassion to meet us where we are, to heal our brokenness, and to return us to a new life.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34 NLT)
“Let all I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his Holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things.” (Psalms 103:1-5)
“ I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” (Psalms 9:1 NLT)
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)