“While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?’ And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.’”—Luke 17:11-19
This account suggests that of those who are blessed by God, only one in ten will stop to give God praise for it. Here we discover that:
- Not all who truly believe sincerely praise
- Not all who diligently pray praise equally
- Not all who readily obey always praise
Like these nine lepers, we are content to enjoy the gift, but are prone to forget the Giver. We are quick to pray, but slow to praise.
The Cause of Ingratitude
Why did the nine refuse to return to give glory to God? Perhaps the reason was:
- Callousness―underestimating the benefit of thanksgiving
- Pride―perhaps thinking they were only getting what they deserved, seeing leprosy as an injustice and good health as their right
- Selfishness―having received new life from Jesus, perhaps fearing He might demand their loyalty
- Thoughtlessness―not reflecting on the gift, only enjoying the benefit
- Cowardice―wondering if a grateful response would involve a deeper discipleship
- Calculation―willing only to do it if others will, but not otherwise
- Procrastination―putting it off until later, although sometimes until it is too late
- Worldliness―forgetting Christ for the sake of other loves
The Penalty of Ingratitude
To refuse to be thankful or to nurse an attitude of ingratitude is a sign of a weak moral and spiritual condition (Rom.1:21). The penalty for ingratitude is that it closes the door to deeper blessings in life.
What is the blessing of a grateful heart? A greater blessing (Luke 17:19)! Every child of God should cultivate the grace of gratitude. Why? It opens the heart for greater blessings and it glorifies God.
Bishop Thorold once said, “He who forgets to be thankful, may one day find himself with nothing to be thankful for.”
Luke 17:17-18 shows us that the Son of God values gratitude and misses it when it is not expressed.