In Luke's gospel, 10 lepers come to Jesus seeking healing. Jesus sends them to the priest, and as they go, suddenly they are healed. Only one returns to Jesus to praise God and say, "Thank you."
Are you a thankful person? What are you thankful for and do you make it a habit to express your thanks? I am thankful for a good dose of Tylenol when my head is spinning and a late-night bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream. I am thankful for the freedoms that we enjoy in this country and for the privilege to be a minister in this church. I am thankful for both of my children. What blessings they are! I believe gratitude is very simply the purest measure of one's spiritual condition. It is both a clear expression of our Christian faith and a clear measure of character. Surely we all have our lists. Giving thanks is good medicine.
But I also admit there are moments in life I don't feel thankful. This past week I assisted my step-mom in putting my dad into a dementia care facility. I admit I felt more pain and sadness than gratitude. In everyone's life, there are times when life is rough and the world feels like it's caving in. When it does, here's a little secret I once heard that I want to now share with you. Look down at your hands. Stretch out your fingers and start to count your blessings. I like to say to myself, "I have 10 fingers...1-2-3-4-5. I can move all of them. My skin is clear. I can see. I can hear. I can talk. I can walk. I have a family. I have a home. I have friends. I have a job. Not everyone has these. I am blessed. I am whole, and I can cope with setbacks." Try it sometime, especially in your darkest hour. Count your blessings this Thanksgiving by beginning with your fingers.
Jesus asked, "Weren't ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?" Then Jesus told the man, "You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well." -Luke 17-17-19