Jennifer Kim, a graduate of Boston University, spent a year in Shanghai as one-year intern from 2013-14. She is currently serving as a staff at Catalyst Agape Church (New Jersey) while attending Alliance Theological Seminary.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
The Cost of Ingratitude
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
With the pumpkin spice lattes, cornucopia decorations, and colder weather upon us, it’s clear that the long awaited day of food coma and family get-togethers is approaching. But we all know that the reason for the season isn’t for the turkey or the cornbread, or even the pumpkin pie, but it’s to remember all that we should be thankful for this season. I’m sure you’ve heard countless messages and read dozens of devotionals explaining why we should be grateful and what we should be grateful for, but have you ever wondered what the cost of ingratitude is?
In today’s passage we read of the ten men with leprosy who call out to the Lord for his mercy and healing. As Jesus directs them to go and show themselves to the priests, the men realize they are healed, but only one out of the ten men turn back to give God praise. What’s interesting here is that Luke, the author, makes it a point to emphasize that the one person who returned to give Jesus thanksgiving was “a Samaritan” (v.16), a “foreigner” (v.18). We can assume by this statement that the other nine were Israelites, the chosen people of God, yet the very people who were called to be set apart fail to return and “give praise to God except this foreigner” (v.18). For Jesus, it was important that all of the men return to Jesus to give gratitude for what He had done. It didn’t matter that the nine were Israelites, it didn’t matter if they were thankful in their hearts, and it didn’t even matter if they knew Jesus was the healer, what mattered most to him was that they would express their gratitude. We can learn from this story that unexpressed gratitude will always be received and felt like ingratitude.
Often times we have this mentality that we do not need to give thanksgiving because it’s already understood or because we are entitled to what we have received. How many times have we said, “My parents/friends/pastors know I’m thankful for them, I don’t need to tell them,” or how about “I don’t need to say thank you, that’s their job”? But Jesus shows us that unexpressed gratitude is also failure to worship. Clearly, it was important for Jesus that all of the lepers return to give praise, and we too are called to praise God through thanksgiving. Can I ask you: Are you living your life like the nine or are you living your life like the one who turned back to give Jesus thanksgiving? We are all where we are today because someone has led us to this point, so let us live our lives like the thankful leper by giving gratitude where gratitude is due.
Prayer: God, thank you that every good and perfect gift is from You. Help me to remember this and give thanksgiving in all seasons of life. And help me to be a worshiper by giving thanksgiving to the people who have helped me be where I am today.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 12
Lunch Break Study
Read Exodus 14:10-14: As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Questions to Consider
- Why did the Israelites so quickly forget God’s intervention and faithfulness in their lives?
- What did Moses say to the Israelites in the midst of their fear?
- What steps can you take to stand firm and remember the character and faithfulness of God in your life?
- It is part of our fallen nature—“What have you done for me lately!” Somewhere along the way, they became very entitled—they even complained about having to eat manna every day.
- Despite their ungrateful attitude, Moses assures the Israelites that God will continue to support them.
- Get a blank sheet of paper and write down all the things God has done for you throughout the years. Then, thank the Lord for being faithful and kind to you for all these years.
Today we learned that there is a cost to ingratitude and that is failure to give God worship. We are indebted to so many people who have helped us be where we are today. To cultivate this heart of gratitude let us reflect on the people that you may have taken for granted. I want to encourage you to write them a note expressing your gratitude and give it to them this season.