If we are observant with what is happening around us we can notice that some people give yet they remember, remember and remember. While some people get, get and get and yet they forget. To which group of people do you belong? I hope and pray that you do not belong to both groups of people. Because as Christian we believe that it is more blessed to give without remembering and to receive without forgetting.
The theme of today’s Gospel is gratitude – receiving without forgetting. “Gratitude,” said jazz musician Lionel Hampton, “is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”
What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it–would you be likely to give them another? God is the same way. Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that God has to offer, that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have: your life, good health, marriage, children, family, loved ones, friends, faith, job, achievements, success and beautiful world.
This is the central message of Gospel. If you still remember there were ten lepers who were shouting for mercy to Jesus in order that he may heal them and set them free from the curse of leprosy. And Jesus, out of great mercy, did what they requested. What happened next. Only one returned. He was Samaritan, a foreigner who is considered an outcast, just like tax collector, public sinner, and pagan. While the other nine who were the Jews never dared to returned. Perhaps each of the nine has the following possible reasons:
One waited to see if the cure was real.
One waited to see if it would last.
One said he would see Jesus later.
One decided that he had never had leprosy.
One said he would have gotten well anyway.
One gave the glory to the priests.
One said, O well, Jesus didn’t really DO anything.
One said, just any rabbi could have done it.
Whatever that is, the fact that nobody returned to thank and praise God remains the same. But the story did not end there. What happened to the one returned? What did he received in return? His gratitude was not only praised but rewarded beyond his expectation. The nine received physical healing; the one who returned to thank the Lord received in addition the salvation of his soul. Hence, a favor, a blessing, a gift received with gratitude is a gift multiplied.
“As stewards of God we must be truly appreciative of the things we receive. One has said that, ‘Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.’ You remember that of the ten lepers healed by Christ, only one returned to give thanks. A beautiful legend tells the story of two angels that were sent forth throughout the land, each given a basket, one to gather up requests and the other thanksgivings. The angel of requests came back with her basket running over full. The angel of thanksgivings came back with her basket practically empty. So it is in life. It seems that all have requests to make, but few of us think to return and give thanks” (Heber Q. Hale – “Conference Report”, October 1919, p.172).
At the end of the day, try answering this question asked by William A. Ward: “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”
Prayer: “Lord, may I never fail to recognize your love and mercy. Else, let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you (Ps 137:1)! Fill my heart with gratitude and thanksgiving and free me from pride, discontentment, and ingratitude. Help me to count my blessings with gratefulness and to give thanks in all circumstances.”