Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem along the border of Galilee and Samaria when He meets upon ten men with leprosy. They call to Him from a distance…

“Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”Luke 17:13

Instead of reaching out and healing them, as Jesus so often does, He tells them to go directly to the priests. For the priests are the only ones who can declare a leper clean.

Miraculously, as the lepers walk along, they are cleansed of their disease. One, a Samaritan, comes back praising God for his healing. He throws himself down at the feet of Jesus, thanking Him abundantly for this miracle in his life. Jesus asks…

“Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”Luke 17:17-18

Only the one leper returns to express his deep gratitude. Jesus commends him…

“Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”Luke 17:19

Why does just the one leper choose to thank Jesus for his healing? Where are the others? Perhaps they doubt they have truly been healed… and are seeking the confirmation of the priests.  Maybe they believe they deserve their healings after lives of isolation and rejection. Or they may take their healings for granted… and are setting off to enjoy their new freedom. Whatever their reasons, all are living ungrateful lives where blessings go unnoticed or unappreciated.

God daily showers us with His blessings. Do we respond as the nine lepers? Do we rationalize away the miracles, large or small, that He works in our lives? Do we feel entitled to His abundant gifts? Do we take His grace and bountiful provision for granted as we go about our days?

Or do we choose to be thankful as the one leper? For gratitude is a choice. In response to his miraculous healing, the leper desires to thank and praise his Healer. He has a heart of gratitude.

Jesus heals this man both physically and spiritually. The grateful leper is transformed after his encounter with the Lord. His faith in Jesus makes him well. The leper recognizes and worships Him as his Healer.

“Grumbling and gratitude are, for the child of God, in conflict. Be grateful and you won’t grumble. Grumble and you won’t be grateful.”Billy Graham

How do we live a thankful life? We choose to be grateful. Our blessings are not overlooked and unappreciated. Rather than seeing our lack, we notice how generously and graciously our Lord has provided. Rather than grumbling and complaining, we are thankful that our blessings far outweigh our problems. We have so many reasons to be thankful. We choose to open our eyes to God’s many miracles and bountiful gifts.

“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

A thankful life sees the richness of God’s blessings through the years. Our past is filled with abundant memories. We remember and thank God for “the best not the worst, the beautiful not the ugly, things to praise not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8). We thank Him for the privilege of waking up and enjoying each day.

We express our thanks to God in expectation of all He will do in our lives… miracles, answers to prayer, blessings. We give thanks to Him in every time and every season… the good times and the bad… the mountains and the valleys. We are grateful to Him for a lifetime of blessings. For He is with us every day. His love creates in us a heart of gratitude.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”Psalm 100:4

A thankful life gives praise and glory to God. Like the thankful leper, we worship Him for who He is and for His constant love and grace toward us. We praise Him for the miracles and blessings He showers upon us daily. For God is glorified by a thankful heart.

When we live our lives with an attitude of gratitude, we will discover that our perspective on life begins to change. Our outlook becomes more positive… our view toward others more gracious and loving. We seek to celebrate life for we are grateful, thankful and blessed.