When my children were little and received a gift or a treat, I remember prompting them by asking, “What do we say?” to avoid any awkward, empty silence that should be filled with a sincere, “Thank you.”
The story of the ten lepers in the Bible has always intrigued me. I remember seeing the flannel-graph version when I was a child sitting in a Sunday School room in a small, red, rounded-back children’s chair. I remember reading a devotion based on it when I was older. And I remember just recently being reminded of this story found in Luke 17, when a long-time prayer in my life was answered and I went about my day without even murmuring a quick, “Thank you” to God.
When my prayer request was granted in a wonderful way, I felt relief, excitement, and joy. Somehow, however, my mind skimmed right over gratitude. When I realized I had forgotten to thank God, the picture of the ten lepers quickly came to my mind. Out of ten completely healed and restored men, only one came back and knelt at Jesus’ feet, showing gratitude for healing him of this horrible, life-changing disease.
The Message version says, “He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank Him enough.” The Living Bible version says, “He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust,” and the New International Version says, “He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” Genuine appreciation is definitely sensed when the one receiving a gift is face-down, kneeling at your feet!
In Luke 17:17, Jesus asks where the other nine healed men are. He speaks about it with grace; in the only way Jesus would. If I were Jesus, I would most likely be saying, “Did that just happen? I miraculously made those men whole again. Did nine of them seriously go on their merry way without even a wave or a smile in my direction?”
There is a humility and a sincerity that is expressed in the simple two-word phrase that we work so hard to try to teach our children to say without reminders. “Thank you,” may seem like two simple words, but the impact made by those two words is not simple.
I am sure that you can think of a time when you felt especially validated after someone took the time to thank you for something you did or said. I am also sure that you can think of a time that you felt your kindness was taken advantage of when there was no gratitude offered.
If gratitude has been absent in your life, it is never too late to count your blessings and give thanks to others and most importantly to God! He is so very worthy of hearing a sincere, heart-felt “Thank You” from us. Let us take our cue from the one healed leper who knelt at His feet and could not ‘thank Him enough.’