1 Thessalonians 5:18, Luke 17:11-19, Colossians 2:6-7, Colossians 3:16-17, Ephesians 5:20

Jeff Cutts looks at something simple that can draw us closer to God

Jeff Cutts
Jeff Cutts

'Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Recently I have been struck by how many times I have read in the Bible that we should be thankful. I ask myself am I a thankful person; thankful not just when it's all fun and good, but 'in all circumstances'? How about you?

I was brought up to say grace before meals, to say 'thank you' to God for what He provides. It is something we still do as a family and most often if I am alone I say a quiet 'thank you' to God before I eat. Thanksgiving is good because it is so simple; it doesn't require payment or a gift in return for what has been given; it is a straightforward acknowledgement of the giver and the blessings received. Appreciation is brilliant in any relationship. Whether it's 'thank you Jesus amen!' or 'rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub', giving thanks is not only right and polite, but powerful in our daily understanding of God with us and His love and provision for us.

Here is a story of the healing power of God that Jesus showed, which brings up the issue of thankfulness.

'As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God!" He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no-one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you."' Luke 17:11-19

Jesus' response to the ten men wasn't to say, "be healed" or, "be clean"; on this occasion he told them to go and show themselves to the priests and it was as they went and obeyed and walked that they were cleansed. Only a priest could declare a person clean from their infection according to Jewish law and as they obediently went to show themselves to the priest simply trusting and obeying Jesus' command their need was met!

Ten men with a serious skin condition called out to Jesus for mercy; they wanted healing and believed Jesus was the solution to their problem. All ten of the lepers were healed but sadly only one came back to give thanks and this one wasn't the most religious and devout; he was a Samaritan!

Samaritans were despised outcasts and discriminated against in Jesus' day. It is why His story of 'the good Samaritan' was so shocking. Here again it is someone unexpected who responds in a right way and teaches us something important.

In many places the Bible encourages us to be thankful. Let us be careful not to only bring a 'shopping list' prayer to Father God as a list of demands. Be careful to cultivate a thankful attitude and it will be powerful in growing a close relationship with God as you recognise all He is to you.

Why not look out today for everything you possibly can that you can give thanks to God for? It could be a meal, warmth on a cold day, fresh water, friends, mobility, health, knowing God's love and grace. The list is endless when you think about it.

'So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.' Colossians 2:6-7

'Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.' Colossians 3:16-17

'...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.' Ephesians 5:20 CR