Remember the confusion everyone felt when COVID-19 was becoming well known? Today people know a lot more about the disease. When you remember the panic & confusion all of us felt not too long ago, you’ll have a bit of an idea of what it was like to have Leprosy in Jesus’ day. People were beyond horrified of the disease & there was no surgeon general with a team of doctors to research & announce scientific facts.
That brings us to the ten men in our story that had Leprosy. They couldn’t go anywhere without people knowing they had Leprosy. In fact, if anyone got closer than 50-yards, they had to warn them to come no closer by yelling, “Unclean, unclean.”
People understood so little about the disease you could no longer see their family. You had to stay far from them. The disease was considered so contagious that you didn’t dare go near anyone for fear they would suffer a similar fate.
As Jesus went about doing good, He healed lepers. People with Leprosy were considered incurable. Since everyone soon knew Jesus could heal lepers, it comes as no surprise lepers sought Him Jesus out.
This story reveals:
3 Reasons We Don’t Appreciate Our Blessings
I. We Focus on What We Don’t Have 11-13
In his book, Jesus Lord of Your Personality: Four Powerful Principles for Change, authors Bob and Rusty Russell make the point that having a lot doesn’t tend to produce a grateful spirit. They write, “Have you had a taste of the best this world has to offer? You went to Hawaii once on vacation, so now it’s harder for you to enjoy a state park…You’ve driven a Jaguar, so now you can’t be as content with your old Chevrolet…Generally speaking, the more we have, the less grateful we are. It should be the opposite; the more we have, the more thankful we should be. But it usually doesn’t work that way, does it?”
It’s easier to be Greedy than Grateful.
God wants us to depend upon Him to help us with
Our Needs, but He also wants us to thank Him for
II. We Forget the Source of Our Blessings 14-16
blessings also come from the Lord. Not just some of them; I’m talking about all of them! Let’s read James 1:17.
Whatever is good & perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens… (James 1:17, NLT)
God doesn’t have to Bless Us, but He does.
III. We Feel We Deserve Our Blessings 17-19
You would think the more blessed we are, the more Thankful we would become, but all too often, the exact opposite is true, the more blessed we are, the more We Expect and the less we Appreciate.
Between Thanksgiving & New Year’s Day, the average American will gain One to Two Pounds, but during that period, approximately 912,000 People will die from Starvation around the world.
List several blessings for which you are thankful. Please take a moment & jot down 4 or 5 of the blessings for which you are most thankful.
Take some time of silence and say thank you to God for our blessings. Please respond personally to God’s goodness by thanking Him.
Part of our gratitude & thanksgiving is sharing our blessings with others.
TALK IT OUT:
- Pastor Tim says one of the reasons we often don’t appreciate our blessings is that we are focused on what we don’t have. How often do you find yourself more concerned about what you want than you are grateful for what you have?
- The lepers came to Jesus asking the Savior to take pity on them, but only one came back to thank Jesus after he was healed. Do you find it easier to ask God for His help, or to thank Him for your blessings? Why?
- In James 1:17, we learn that God gives us every good gift. Most of us know this, but frequently, we forget it. Why do most of us find it so easy to forget God is the source of our blessings?
- Pastor Tim observes that God doesn’t have to bless us, but He does. Reflect on this fact and consider why understanding this should make us truly grateful.
- One reason many are ungrateful is that they feel entitled to the blessings they have. How might feeling God owes us blessings get in the way of being grateful for the blessings we have?
- As a rule, Pastor Tim believes the more we are blessed, the more we tend to expect & the less we tend to appreciate the good things we have. Most of us enjoy numerous material blessings. Examine yourself and consider whether you find it easier to be less grateful as you accumulate more, or have you become more grateful as you are given additional blessings?
- Pastor Tim suggests setting aside a place where you can pause to reflect on your blessings and be grateful to God. This might be a “Thanksgiving Chair” in a less used part of your house or a quiet place outside where you can go to reflect on how God has blessed you. Where might you go to reflect on your blessings and thank God for His goodness?
LIVE IT OUT
- Use a pad of paper or an electronic device to make a list of 4 or 5 blessings for which you are grateful.
- Take 4 or 5 minutes and thank God for each blessing on your list.
- Try to repeat this exercise in gratitude each day of Thanksgiving week by making a new list of blessings for which you will thank God.
- Finally, ask God to help you be more aware of His blessings and to help you be filled with gratitude during the coming months.