SAY “THANK YOU!”                                                      Pastor YAU

Text: Luke 17:11-19                                                          March 12, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   We were taught: We all were taught, when we were still small, to say “Thank you” to people who either did us a favor or gave us something. We were told that it is the right manner to relate to people around us, family, friends people at school or church. We were also told that it was important to be nice and grateful when dealing with others. We did what we were told and everyone was happy. But things changed.

2)   We forgot: Some said that we learned good manners while we were in kindergarten. But most of us forget what we had learned in kindergarten when we grow up. Either we feel that it is too childish or we are too old to express gratitude, many of us treat “Thank you” as the lost art. We begin to take things for granted. Some may even feel odd when others say “thank you” to them. Many have come to conclusion that this world is becoming ruder and less courteous, be it at home or in school, at the work place or even in church. Few still care to say “Thank you.”

 

WHY IS BEING GRATEFUL IMPORTANT?

1)   It is what God is looking for: In the story of today’s passage, Jesus was disappointed to see only one out of ten men who had been healed of their most serious and disgraceful disease, leprosy, by His word had come back to show Him his gratitude. (17:17-18) Even though God doesn’t need any glory or recognition from man to make Him feel good, God still wants to see His children being grateful every time He bestows grace and mercy on us. It is the ungrateful spirit and attitude among the people of Israel that caused them to murmur in the wilderness that in turn brought them punishment as a nation.

2)   It shows your attitude: We all know the importance of attitude in our everyday life: toward people, our job, school, home, church and everything in our surroundings. Our grateful attitude shows our humility and sincerity toward others who show kindness to us either in words or deeds. Our attitude either builds or destroys the bridges from which we relate to others. We win people’s good will and support mostly not just by our talents or results but by our attitude on top of them. Few, if any, want to befriend with people of arrogant attitude.

3)   It shows your spiritual quality: You may not agree that grateful attitude has something to do with spiritual maturity, but it does. The fact that King David was called “a man after God’s heart” has to do, in part, with his grateful attitude toward God. He was grateful when he was chosen to be king of Israel. He was grateful and gave thanks to God when God gave him a son, Solomon. David was grateful and gave thanks to God every time God gave him victory over his enemies. King Solomon was grateful and humble even after he had built the first temple for God. Paul, the Apostle, was grateful that God has chosen him when he was the worst of all sinners. A grateful attitude is a spiritual attitude.

4)   It affects your personal relationship: We all know the importance of human relationship to the well being of our life: family, career, marriage, friendship and many others and grateful attitude has a lot to do with all of them. A grateful person doesn’t take things for granted. He shows his gratitude to those who help him, show good will to him or give him convenience or things. A grateful person keeps people closer to his heart and inner circle which in turn helps his relationship with them. People are more willing to show good will or do help again and again to grateful person.

 

WHY DON’T WE FEEL GRATEFUL?

1)     We take things and people for granted: This is the foremost lousy attitude anyone could have toward people and things around them. They feel they deserve all that they have and all people exist to cater to their needs. They take their family, friends and people who are close to them for granted. They don’t feel they need to be grateful and often times they don’t even feel they have enough or people have done their best to meet their needs.

2)     We think we deserve it all: People who are so proud, self-centered or think they deserve everything have difficulty to be grateful because they see them as the center of life and everything surrounding them. They think they deserve every bit they have. We see children are seldom grateful after their parents have done more than they can to provide their needs. We see adults don’t feel grateful to have a good pay job still feel they are being under paid. We see spouses who blame each other for not fulfilling their expectations. We see some people who don’t do their fair share to provide for themselves but blame the government not giving them everything free. The mentality of “I am entitled to” is a vicious virus that causing people not to be grateful for what others have done for them. There is no such thing as entitlement. No one owes you anything.

3)     We never have enough: This is another faulty reason people are not grateful: they always want more and never feel have enough. This is greed in its raw condition. When people are not happy with what they already have, how can they feel grateful? Adam and Eve were not happy with God in spite of all the provision they had because there was one more fruit they couldn’t have. How often we see some women feeling ungrateful with the huge collection of fashion in their wardrobe still wanting another one they saw at the department store the other day. Kids still want another new toy even though their toy closets are already overflow.

4)     We don’t know it is for our own good: To be grateful is more than just a mental condition it is also an emotional condition. Mental condition is about right and wrong or good and bad. We may understand, in mental condition, we need to be grateful, we just can’t be grateful on emotional level. But that is where we feel unhappy, discontent, unfulfilled and ungrateful. Being ungrateful either to people or environment puts us in a defeated position that hinders us from enjoying what we have, building close and cordial relationship, seeing the beauty of others and wrap us in the feeling of contentment and joy. Being grateful is primarily not to benefit others as it benefits ourselves more than we ever understand.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF A GRATEFUL HEART: (Luke 17:11-19)

1)   They realized their shameful condition: In the ancient time, leprosy was an incurable disease symbolized immorality and disgrace. People who had the disease were segregated from the rest of the community. They had to warn others of their shameful condition every time people were near them. This is the reason that one of them was so grateful after he was healed. We need to realize our helpless, hopeless, shameful and pitiful condition before we were saved so we will be grateful after we were delivered from those sinful conditions. If you feel that you are too good, chances are you won’t be impressed by things you have or good will or acts other have done for you. Being humble is the key to being grateful.

2)   They also realized they were helpless: They acknowledged their helpless and hopeless condition and called upon the Lord for help. It is that self realization of being helpless that puts them in position to be grateful when the Lord healed them from their disgraceful disease. We need to acknowledge that we are unable, undeserved, unmerited to any of the things God has done or given us so we will be grateful to receive any and all the Lord and others have done for us. Until you realize that all that you have and who you are not from your own effort but that of God and the good will of others, you won’t be grateful.

3)   They experienced the healing: It was Jesus’ words that made them well from the shameful disease and caused one of them to come back and showed his gratitude to Jesus. He was cleaned of the shameful disease. He was presentable to the priest and everyone else. He was no longer in that shameful condition. He experienced the power and grace of God. That caused him to come back to praise God and demonstrated his grateful heart to the Lord. We need to experience God and His grace, realizing that He is the power and the source of who we are and all we have then we will have a grateful heart.

4)   He demonstrated his gratitude: I am sure all ten men were happy that they were cleaned of leprosy but there was only one who had come back to praise God and gave thanks to Jesus. To have a grateful heart is good, but to show your grateful heart in action is far better. Even though Jesus didn’t need anything to add to His power and majesty, acknowledging gratitude and giving praises to God for what He has done for us is the right thing to do. It is also good to bring God glory and honor so others may see Him and believe in Him. If you are grateful to God and people, do something to show it.

 

CONCLUSION: 

1)     Saving the lost art: Let us not forget all those basic courtesy and manner we learned from kindergarten days. Growing older shouldn’t make us ruder or less grateful. We didn’t bring anything into this world when we came here. All that we have are blessings and good will either from God or people around us. It is good and appropriate to show our gratitude every time opportunity comes around.

2)     Show gratitude in action: While gratitude is an emotional condition on the inside, it needs to be expressed on the outside in words and deeds like the Samaritan man did. We don’t have to have our leprosy cleaned before we feel grateful. Say those two magic words: “Thank you!” anytime you are on the receiving end of a good will or deed. Do the same to God when you realize how much we are indebted to His goodness.

3)     One thing we all must do: How should we response to the ultra self sacrifice God has shown us in the sending of Jesus to die on the cross so men can be saved from sin? Shouldn’t we express our sincere gratitude by accepting His good will of giving us salvation? The loss we may suffer in not accepting God’s good will and mercy is worse than just an attitude problem, it is the loss of your eternal life with Him in heaven. Now is the time to show your gratitude: say to God: “I believe in Jesus.”