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Transformed By Gratitude

Posted Nov 26 2008 12:24pm

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 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 diseased left to institutions. I admire my parents' passion towards those less fortunate. They know what it's like to be without. GratitudeI 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 Orphanage_big 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 unclean. 

I came across a very powerful 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 miracles. Leprosy is a bacteria disease that eats away the flesh, and often times fingers and toes or limbs may be lost due to the infections. During this time of history, anyone with this disease was 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 to go show themselves to the priest. They must have thought to themselves, "What, how in the world will we be able to show ourselves in this condition?" You have to 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 headed into town, they would probably be stoned or thrown out, but these guys were no 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 something!

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 missing 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, we are...there is a saying that goes, "If the principles work, work the principles!" Principles never cease! 

Phillsboo_GRATITUDE_frame 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 have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you." (Sarah Ban Breathnach).

Duong Sig
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