Philippians 4:6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
There are some things that one knows automatically, and there are others which must be taught. How do you learn the difference? Someone teaches you! There are many ways to learn something, but when you look at them all, it often breaks down this way, you can learn it the easy way, or the hard way. For example, Israel in the wilderness learned that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God – they learned it the hard way, first they were hungry, and then they saw how God provided. In our Gospel, the lepers learned the hard way – they were in want because of the leprosy, and in their want they cried to God for mercy, and God answered their prayer.
The problem is, that only one received the fullness of God’s mercy. For though all 10 lepers were cured of their disease, only one received all that God had to offer – the one that stopped to return thanks. What did he receive? Saving faith! The others missed out, probably because they didn’t see the need. If you don’t see your sins, chances are you won’t see a need for a savior.
How can this be? If you have the mistaken idea that God owes you something, or if you imagine that for some reason God is in your debt – then anything God does, is simply what we are owed and deserved. The problem is, that any God that can be in our debt, is too small a God to have created the heavens and the earth, too weak to preserve creation, and too weak to offer salvation.
What can I do for the almighty Lord of All? Go down the list… What can we do by ourselves? Remember that by ourselves, we are spiritually blind, dead, and enemies of God – the one thing that we can do by ourselves is sin, fail, and be in need. We cannot even call out for help, by ourselves, for that requires a faith which hopes in a promise given. We cannot even plea for mercy, without the grace of God, which causes us to hope that mercy may be granted.
We are taught to give thanks. Its part of the basic manners, that make a person fit to live in society. How is it taught? It might be as simple as the phrase, what is the magic word? Its not that our parents have forgotten what it is, but they ask us, to remind us that we have forgotten one of the basic things in life, learning to say please and thank you.
Funny thing is that often we are so very much like the 9 lepers, for we may have learned to say, please pass the turkey – but so often, we also forget to say thank you. Many people might say, that this point – what’s the big deal? Here’s the answer: if you cannot say thanks to the people in your life, whom you can see – how will you ever remember to say thanks to God, whom we cannot see?
So, let me put the question to you another way? How would you like to learn, the hard way or the easy way? Its a lot easier to learn from someone else’s mistakes, and to follow a good example. It’s a lot easier to hear the word of God and keep it, than it is to try and find your own salvation.
And that is what is at stake. A thankful heart receives Gods gifts, knowing that we are not worthy, and grateful for God’s mercy. A heart that is all wrapped up in its rights, despises the greater gifts of God, and perishes.
You see God sends rain on the righteous and the wicked, and both receive their daily bread – but the wicked never receive more, because they are not open to God’s gifts.
Be open to God’s gifts, Be thankful – for then the peace of God which passes all understanding will be and abide with you and keep you in true faith unto life everlasting.