There is a big difference between being grateful and expressing gratitude.
It is one thing to feel thankful; it is something else entirely to articulate that feeling to God.
In the passage from Luke 17 that we studied on Sunday morning, ten men were healed by Jesus. Without a doubt, all ten of them felt grateful. How could they not? What Jesus had done for them had given them their lives back. All ten of them could see their families again, they would be able to hold their children again, they had been restored to a place of hope and given a future of health.
All ten men must have been filled with the emotions of joy and gratitude. Only one of them communicated gratitude to Jesus.
They all had grateful hearts. They all had grateful thoughts. But only one of them said it.
As we learned in the sermon on Sunday (which you can listen to here), Jesus points out there is something wrong with this picture. Being grateful is not just an emotional disposition. Being grateful is not just a feeling; it is also an action. Gratitude is an expressed reality. Gratitude means going back and saying “Thank you.”
We can be just like the lepers in this story. So excited about what is coming next. So eager to get home, so passionate to tackle the thing in front of us, we completely miss the opening to express our gratitude.
Finding ways to say “Thank you” to God and to others is a worthwhile discipline. It could be through prayer, journaling, not going to sleep at night until you have found three things in your life to be grateful for, and then following through to articulate your gratitude.
This week, most of us are going to be giving thanks with family and friends around a table with a dead bird on it. Every week is an apt time to offer our thanks to Jesus for what he has done in our lives.
Grateful to be committed to giving thanks alongside you,