The Faith of Thanksgiving

Was no one found who turned back to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise, and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Luke 17:18 & 19

As I was doing my devotions early one morning at my favorite coffee cafe, something caught my eye in this passage and I had to stop and ponder. The stubborn disciples had just logged a request with the Lord a few verses earlier. “Increase our faith!” and the class began with ten extra students… all lepers.

We usually hear of this story as a testimony of healing, but that morning in the coffee shop with Bible and journal in hand, God didn’t highlight the healing; He put my attention on the faith of a grateful heart. This former Hansen disease patient’s faith was made complete when he expressed gratefulness. Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” That comment was made to a grateful man, not just to a healed man. Gratefulness is not simply a nice gesture of proper etiquette…

It is an expression of faith.

Sometimes we define a man of faith as someone who can preach up a storm or one who commands applause. He might be the one who experiences healings and miracles. In this instance Jesus defines faith in a much less recognized fashion-to the one who was thankful He said, “Go your way; yourfaith has made you well.” He gained Jesus’ attention because his faith included gratefulness or expressions of thanks. But he was one-out-of-ten!

In other words, the one single act of genuine thanksgiving puts us in the upper 10%!

We are never above showing thanks: never above expressing gratefulness. The more I can express thanks, the more my faith is rounded out and made complete. I wonder if most of us walk around with an incomplete faith and an incomplete definition of what faith is about.

Jesus took the giving of thanks and elevated it to the sacrament we call Communion. If He set the example of One who readily expressed thanks, then I too, must do the same.

Jesus, as He said to the healed leper, reminds us that we round out our faith when we add genuine gratefulness to it. There are many times I walk around with an incomplete faith. It’s almost as if the Lord is prompting each of us: “Round out your faith; make it complete; live thankful lives!”

Do you know how many times God uses people to fulfill our dreams? God ultimately fulfills them but He uses a courier, a person, a friend through which that was done. When I express genuine thanks to that someone, I’m really saying “Thank You” to Him! I’m coming back, like that leper, and thanking God Himself!

After this devotional, I immediately wrote appreciation notes to six individuals thanking them for their touch on my life. I never want to drift from this lesson.

I’m asking God to build in me an ever-grateful heart allowing His grace to become more and more obvious in my life as I round out my faith by adding to it a spirit of gratefulness.

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