Giving Thanks

Have you ever been in a place where you needed rescued? When we consider the word rescue, we often think of a child stuck in a well or Chilean miners trapped beneath the earth’s surface. However, the word often applies to less newsworthy events in our lives. Perhaps an illness threatens your well being or life circumstances (like the loss of a job or a divorce) bulldoze your security. It is often in these places where we call out to God. We are desperate, needing God to intervene.

We see this pattern over and over in the psalms. The psalmist calls out in distress; God responds. The psalmist is quick to give God credit. In this week’s psalm, we read,

(Psalms 107:19 NIV) Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.

This pattern is not only in the psalms; we see it throughout Scripture. In the Gospels, people come to Jesus with ailments; Jesus heals. Once the word is out that Jesus is able to perform such miracles, the crowds are unbearable. Everyone wants to be rescued when they are in trouble.

But what happens after the rescue? How did the people respond once they were delivered from danger or disease? Some went about their way paying little attention to the severity of their trouble. Others are overwhelmed with hearts of gratitude.

In Luke 17, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. He encounters ten men who were suffering from leprosy. This disease caused tremendous suffering, not only physically but socially as well. They would have been separated from their families and society.

(Luke 17:12–13 NIV) 12) They stood at a distance 13) and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

No doubt, they are in trouble; they are in desperate need of rescue. Luke tells us that Jesus heals them. But that is not Luke’s emphasis in the story. Luke describes what happens next.

(Luke 17:15–16 NIV) 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.

So there were ten guys in critical condition. Jesus gets them out and only one comes back to thank him.

(Luke 17:17–19 NIV) 17) Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18) Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19) Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

This encounter illustrates our tendency to forget how bad things were once we are out of the woods. This ex-leper appropriately worships Jesus; he credits him for his astounding rescue. We all have various emancipations; some are more profound than others. Do we take the time to thank God when he delivers us? Do we continually live in a posture of gratitude. Join us on Sunday as we canvass Psalm 107. May we join the psalmist who repeats this phrase not once or twice but four times (v. 8, 15, 21, 31) in this psalm.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.