Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)
When is the last time you said “thank you” to God?
When is the last time you counted your blessings?
It is funny how certain moments from your life stick with you; how certain moments become critical ones that define you and your outlook on life. I will never forget the time that I, as a young boy, was complaining about what I did not have. I was sitting in my room and my father was speaking with me. I don’t remember the specifics of how the conversation got started or the details of what I was discontent about, but I will never forget my dad asking me a question. He asked, “do you realize how many things you have to be thankful for?” He went on to ask if I’d ever taken the time to count all of the toys that I had in my room. I hadn’t. He left the room and I sat there looking around at all my toys. I got it.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—*money cannot buy [*wealth can never buy]
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
– Johnson Oatman, Jr.
Why is the Christian able to have peace even in the midst of trouble? (Philippians 6:6-7)
Why is the Christian able to rejoice despite great difficulty? (James 1:2-3)
Why is the Christian able to be happy when facing persecution? (Matthew 5:11-12)
Why is the Christian able to be pressed, but not crushed? Perplexed, but not in despair? Struck down, but not destroyed? (2 Corinthians 4:7-12)
I will tell you why…
Because the Christian knows that even if every good thing that this world can provide is stripped away, their connection to God will remain. If we are left alone with no family or other human being who might be called a friend, we are yet not alone (cf. Hebrews 13:5-6). If our bodies begin to fail us or are damaged beyond repair, our soul and spirit shall continue in His strength as we await our new, eternal body (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Yes, we rejoice because we know that in Him we are more than conquerors. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ (cf. Romans 8:31-39).
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:20-21)
So which are you today? Are you among the 90% who have neglected to say “thank you?” Or, will you be among the few who count their blessings today and show gratitude to He from whom every good and perfect gift comes down? (James 1:17)
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)