When Thanks Is Due. 03/04/2014 (Evening thought)

Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.  14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.  15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,  16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.  17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

This passage of scripture speaks of both gratitude and ingratitude for what is considered a very major intervention by God in the lives of these ten men. Being permanently shackled with a disease for which there was no known cure, they were considered outcasts of society, and according to the laws back they were required to remain at a distance from friends, family and society as a whole. In addition to these restrictions, they were also required by law to warn everyone who might inadvertently come in contact with them by proclaiming themselves, the very embarrassing words "unclean unclean".

Thus it was in their hour of dire need, with no one else to help them, that they entreated the Lord to cure them, and He did. However, the sad record of only one of the ten returning to give thanks evokes feelings of dismay and displeasure at what was supposed to be the natural response of gratitude for a phenomenal deliverance from Christ. The ingratitude of the other nine was so glaring that Christ Himself had to comment on it by asking the question "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God".

Now while it is true that the nine were indeed guilty of the sin of ingratitude, we have to wonder if the same scenario isn't being repeated over and over again on a much broader scale by millions of earths inhabitants. We observe that it was a specific fraction of the group of lepers who returned to God, one tenth to be exact. That same fraction,"one tenth" is the stipulated amount required in the scriptures as the tithe, to be returned in thanksgiving to God. The question is are we returning our "one tenth' to God as an expression of our gratitude for all of His manifold blessings and mercies He showers on us each day? Not only is the tithe required, but also a freewill offering given in response to God's kindness that is renewed to us every morning. Of the many millions of earth's inhabitants, the question may very well be asked "but where are the nine?"

Long before the law was given on Mount Sinai, tithing in response to God's tender mercies was practiced. Let's read:

Genesis 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,  21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God:  22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

The same statute was reaffirmed in Leviticus and then again in Malachi. Let's read:

Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord.  32 And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Could it be then, that while we look at the ingratitude of the nine lepers with disgust, that we ourselves individually and collectively may be coming up short in our expressions of thanksgiving to God? When we are given an unexpected raise in salary, or when we are given birthday presents, do we not show our gratitude by giving thanks? How is it then that our gratitude to God is often left on the back burner, while our friends and families are showered with thanksgiving and praise?

God is calling on us to reform our ways by His grace, in the way we show our gratitude to Him. After emptying all of Heaven in the person of Jesus Christ who gave His life that we might have life more abundantly, isn't it fitting that we often show our gratitude to Him in tangible ways? May God grant us the mind and heart to better appreciate what He has done and continues to do on behalf of the entire human family, and may the appropriate response of thanksgiving and praise be the theme of our experience and song. We therefore end with a text and a promise that should encourage everyone to return to the Lord, our gratitude in tithes and freewill offerings  that are His due. Let's read:

Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

May this be our experience for the rest of our lives. "Good night" and God bless!