Has your life in anyway been transformed by gratitude? Do you sometimes find your self grumbling and complaining about things that you don't have? My parents spend
half of the year in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, they spend some time visiting the orphanages and facilities
that care for the unwanted; the outcasts of society, the lame, and the
to institutions. I admire my parents' passion towards those less
fortunate. They know what it's like to be without. My parents have
demonstrated that "it is more blessed to give then to receive" and have
instill those principles into our lives as well. What an example to my
siblings and me.
On one of their trips, my parents brought pictures back of some of
the institutions that they visited. I could barely look at the photos without
shedding tears at seeing the living conditions. Several of the residence had missing limbs; arms, or legs, blind, and no
opportunities to leave their stiff bamboo beds unless someone dared to visit them and helped them off their beds.
Seeing the photos and
hearing their stories was a reminder to be grateful for the life that I have. Really, what do I have to complain about? Sometimes we can take our daily provisions for granted. My mother shared with me that this type of out
casting is similar to that in Jesus' days when those who had the skin disease
of leprosy had to live outside the villages because they were considered
I came across a very
illustration about "gratitude" in the book of Luke during one of my reading time. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem
passing a village where there were ten men with leprosy who recognized
Him from a distance. They also heard about how He performed great
Leprosy is a bacteria
that eats away the flesh, and often times fingers and toes or limbs may
due to the infections. During this time of history, anyone with this
sent off to a leper's colony away from society, away from people.
On this day, there were ten lepers that saw Jesus and cried out to
Him and asked Him to
have mercy on them. Jesus immediately responded to them and told them
show themselves to the priest. They must have thought to themselves,
in the world will we be able to show ourselves in this condition?" You
understand, in those days, a priest has to confirm if you are cleansed
from leprosy or healed
before allowing you to go back home or to be around other people.
However, these men were still full of
leprosy when Jesus gave them those instructions. Mind you, if they
town, they would probably be stoned or thrown out, but these guys were
dummies...if Jesus told them to go see the priest, and having heard
about all the wonderful miracles He performed, they heeded His
instructions, even if for a second they had their
doubts. In their hearts they probably knew that Jesus was up to
These ten lepers left and headed towards the priest and "as they went",
they received their healing. They probably rolled up their sleeves and
saw that their sores disappeared. Jesus was aware of the law of leprosy
and knew that if they acted on what He said; it was a demonstration of
their or faith. For this reason, He told them to go show themselves to
the priest, so he could
confirm them cleansed from this disease.
The story goes on to
say that only one of the lepers, when he saw that he was healed, fell on his
face and gave God thanks. This man
got Jesus' attention. Jesus replied to the man and said, "Were there not ten?
But the nine, where are they? Was no one found who returned to give God glory
except this man?" Because this one leper returned to give God thanks, Jesus
blessed him even more. He told this man that his faith has made him whole.
Being healed is a miracle no doubt! The symptoms of the illness may
have disappeared, maybe there were some limbs still missing even though
the sores disappeared. But to be made whole means, nothing missing, nothing lacking; complete; entire;
not defective or imperfect (Webster's 1828). This tenth leper demonstrated
gratitude and thanksgiving, and as a result of his healing got a double
blessing. He was not only healed of the leprosy, but whatever was missing in
his body, in his life, Jesus made him whole again. The secret to being made whole was being thankful. His life was transformed by gratitude. (Luke 17:11-19)
You may not have leprosy, but is there anything that is lacking or
in your life today that you need made whole, complete, not defective or
imperfect? Can you find something in your life to be grateful for? Even
if all Hell seems to be breaking loose, you can find something to be
thankful for. Or you may say, "This is just a nice story from the
Bible, but it's
not for today, come on, we're living in the twenty-first century." Yes,
are...there is a saying that goes, "If the principles work, work the
principles!" Principles never cease!
I love this quote by Rabbi Harold Kushner, "If
you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will
discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that
nurtures the soul."
This is a truth; the principle of gratitude will transform your life.
"You will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you
and are grateful for, the more will be given to you." (Sarah Ban