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A Grateful Heart

A Grateful Heart

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
A grateful heart is a key factor in a life of joy that is a blessing to others, and pleasing to God.
A grateful heart is a key factor in a life of joy that is a blessing to others, and pleasing to God.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 18, 2009
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11/14/2012

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A GRATEFUL HEART Based on Luke 17A GRATEFUL HEART Based on Luke 17:11-19By Pastor Glenn PeaseThanksgiving is unconditional for the believer. We are not to be thankful only because of blessings, but even in spite of burdens, for life at itsworst does not change the most precious truth for which we are to be thankful, and that issalvation through Jesus. There have been Christian peoplewho have nothing of great value materially, and they have known nothing of a Thanksgiving Day,since this is uniquely American, but who never theless have had a grateful heart.We need to remember that Thanksgiving grew out of a tragic situation because of people of God who put their trust in Him in spite of tragedy.Half of the Pilgrims died the first winter in America. Their crop was so poor they had to rationout 5 grains of corn at a time. At one point there wereonly 7 of them who were not sick to help the rest of them. And yet these are the people who gaveus Thanksgiving. Their faith did not waver with thewinds of fortune. They labored 7 years to pay back loans to London bankers where they got themoney to come to America.Elder Brewster in the early days of Plymouth could set down to a meal of clams and a cup of cold water, and look up to heaven and return thanks,"For the abundance of the sea and for the treasures hid in the sand." God prospered the Pilgrimsbecause they had grateful hearts even in the midstof great difficulties. Gratitude can even grow in the garden of grief when watered with theshowers of trust in God. Robert Louis Stevenson spentmost of life in bed with much pain, and he died at 44, but he saw more to be thankful for thanmost healthy people. He wrote, "The world is so full of anumber of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." Sometimes those who are mostblest are most blind. They spend their days incomplaining and lose the greatest blessings because they lack a grateful heart. We want to look ata biblical example of this as found in the accountof the healing of the 10 lepers. We see here 3 aspects of gratitude.Page 1
 
A GRATEFUL HEART Based on Luke 17I. THE RARENESS OF GRATITUDE. v. 17-18Here were 10 men in awful misery who experienced the blessing of almighty mercy, and yet 9of them never came back to say thanks. If Jesushad only 10 per cent express their gratitude for a miracle, how much less must he have receivedfor common mercies? How little does he receive fromus for every day blessings? Does he receive more than puddles of praise for the ocean waves of mercy he causes to splash against the shore of ourlives? Spurgeon said, "If you search the world around among all choice spices you shall scarcelymeet with the frankincense of gratitude." Why isthis? Here are a number of reasons:A. SELFISHNESS. From the minute a person is born he is self-centered. All of life revolvesaround a child, and what makes him happy is good, andwhat does not is bad. You can have fun with a child doing everything he wants for hours, but thenrefuse him one thing his heart desires and hebecomes angry and charges you with meanness. It is tragic when adults exhibit this sameungrateful attitude. Albert Schweitzer tells of how difficult itwas to teach the natives that they had to help keep up the hospital by giving a chicken, a few eggs,or some bananas. Some of the more savage peoplecame to him after they were cured and demanded a gift of him. Paul in Rom. 1:21 tells us that oneof the causes for the darkness of the pagan mindand heart was that they were not thankful.This natural selfishness is a part of the civilized world as well. People with great abundanceare constantly more concerned about what they don'thave than thankful for what they do have. When Andrew Carnegie left a million dollars to arelative that relative cursed him saying, "Old Andy left365 million to public charities and cut me off with one measly million." Such ingratitude seemsincredible, but it reveals that the ungrateful heart loseseven the blessings that it does have. I can just imagine that those 9 who did not return werediscouraged within a couple of days. They would bePage 2
 
A GRATEFUL HEART Based on Luke 17complaining that their leprosy put them so far behind in their work. They would complain that itshard now to get their crop in on time, or fill thatpottery order they had before they got sick. Even a dog will wag its tail at a kindness shown, butthese selfish 9 did not even take the time to saythank you. Shakespeare was right when he said, "Blow, blow thou winter wind! Thou art not sounkind as man's ingratitude."B. THOUGHTLESSNESS. It may not be that they purposely did not return. Maybe they stoppedto think of the giver, but then got their mindsfocused on other things. This is another form of selfishness because it leads us to forget the sourceof our blessings. These 9 had some real faith, forthey took Jesus at His Word and went to the priests. They wanted help and they believed Jesuscould help. They called on Him for mercy and Heheard them, and when the crisis was over they no longer thought about their need for Him.Think and thank come from the same root word, and thoughtlessness leads to thanklessness.So many cry out to God in emergency situations,and then they forget Him when the emergency is over. But even the righteous are in danger of being thoughtless. The Psalmist says to himself, "Obless the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits." Jesus gave us the Lord's Supper to keepus reminded that His sacrifice for us is the centerof our Christian faith. Physical amnesia is seldom heard of, but spiritual amnesia is as common asthe cold, and we need to pray that we can escapebeing infected with this germ. The poet put it,Forget him not whose meeknessForgiveth all thy sin:Who healeth all thy weaknessRenews thy life within.II. THE RESPONSE OF GRATITUDE. v. 15-16Let us be thankful that one did respond to the grace of Christ and return to thank Him andpraise God. Jesus was doubtless disappointed in thePage 3

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