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The Lord Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to thank Him, and that one was a despised Samaritan.

One of the valuable experiences for us in life is to encounter ingratitude, for then we can share in a small degree the heartbreak of God. When we give generously and do not receive so much as an acknowledgment, we have a greater appreciation of Him who gave His beloved Son for a thankless world. When we pour out ourselves in tireless service for others, we join the fellowship of the One who took the place of a slave for a race of ingrates.

Unthankfulness is one of the unlovely traits of fallen man. Paul reminds us that when the pagan world knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful (Romans 1:21). A missionary to Brazil discovered two tribes who had no words for "Thank you." If a kindness was shown to them, they would say "That is what I wanted" or "That will be useful to me." Another missionary, working in North Africa, found that those to whom he ministered never expressed gratitude because they were giving him the opportunity of earning merit with God. It was the missionary who should be grateful, they felt, because he was acquiring favor through the kindness he showed them.

Ingratitude permeates all of society. A radio program called "Job Center of the Air" succeeded in finding jobs for 2500 people. The emcee later reported that only ten ever took time to thank him.

A dedicated school teacher had poured her life into fifty classes of students. When she was eighty, she received a letter from one of her former students, telling how much he appreciated her help. She had taught for fifty years and this was the only letter of appreciation she had ever received.

We said that it is good for us to experience ingratitude because it gives us a pale reflection of what the Lord experiences all the time. Another reason why it is a valuable experience is that it impresses on us the importance of being thankful ourselves. Too often our requests to God outweigh our thanksgiving. We take His blessings too much for granted. And too often we fail to express our appreciation to one another for hospitality, for instruction, for transportation, for provision, for numberless deeds of kindness. We actually come to expect these favors almost as if we deserved them.

The study of the ten lepers should be a constant reminder to us that while many have great cause for thanksgiving, few have the heart to acknowledge it. Shall we be among the few?

 

Bible Verses: Romans 1:21

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