“They had received gifts from Jesus, but they had not received Jesus.”
The impact of John Hampton’s words swept over me as they were spoken, and sweeps afresh as I recall them now. What have I received from Jesus without receiving the heart behind the gift?
Am I no different from the other nine who got right on with their lives after their miraculous healing, their out-of-nowhere transport from pain to promise, without so much as a muttered thanks?
I wasn’t healed from leprosy, but I was rescued from death and given not just life but eternity with my Rescuer.
How thankful am I?
How many gifts to I overlook on a daily basis, gifts not so dramatic as healing from a dread disease but none the less treasures from One who loves me more than life? In my lack of recognition am I like the nine, so busy going and doing and living that I don’t think to be thankful?
When Jesus asked, “Where are the others?” we know it is rhetorical; Jesus didn’t need to be told where they were. Obviously he was acknowledging the “one” for coming to express his gratitude. But was there more to it? We know Jesus knew anguish, so I wonder if His heart was showing just a little bit. Was the Creator perhaps hurting over the fallen state of His creation?
I wonder if I might ever be one of “the others” He’s asking after. In my repeated failure to notice His kindness, His blessings, His mercies new every morning, am I rushing blindly onward in the shoes of the ungrateful?
I return often to Ann Voskamp’s concept of how living gratefully slows time down, allowing us to fully live each moment and experience everything it has to offer.
I consider all this and recall a thought from this morning as I listened to John’s message: Lack of gratitude, taking people and blessings for granted, is a habit. A bad one. One I don’t like or want.
If this is true, then is living gratefully also a habit—one we should all aspire to develop in our lives?
If the adage “practice makes perfect” holds true, simply practicing gratitude should replace a selfish and inconsiderate habit with a selfless and considerate one.
We can teach ourselves to be thankful by simply being thankful.
We train for the life of a humbly grateful child of God by looking for reasons to thank Him and then doing so, moment by moment each and every day of our lives.
Would you join me, friend, in looking for the beauty in the moments of this life—in receiving Jesus along with His gifts and expressing thanks to the Giver of every good and perfect gift?
How might our lives be different, richer, more beautiful, if we purpose to live gratefully?
Dare to walk this out with me, this living of a consciously grateful life? I would love your company.
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Lisa Easterling is a lifelong resident of the Tampa Bay area alongside her husband Steve, five children, and two grandchildren. A pioneer for home education in Florida, she has served in various areas of Christian ministry for the past 32 years. Lisa is a lifelong writer, editor, creative writing coach, and Site Director for Write Where It Hurts. Her favorite place to write is near the ocean, and she particularly loves helping others to fall in love with words. Lisa blogs at www.lisaeasterling.com and can be reached by following @writepraylove on Twitter or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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