Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIrV)
Bible Story: Luke 17:11-19, Jesus Heals Ten Lepers
Terrific Truth: I can be thankful every day because of Jesus.
Wow, can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner? Before you know it, you’ll be making Christmas lists and decorating the tree. Speaking of lists, have you ever noticed how many stores like to mail you toy catalogues this time of year? They love to show you pictures of all the things you don’t have, so that you can make a list of everything you want. Their job is to try to convince you that you need everything in their store.
What if one year you got a different kind of catalogue in the mail? What it didn’t show you pictures of everything you don’t have, but instead showed you all the stuff you do have? Can you imagine if you had a catalogue with all the cool stuff you own? You may even discover some fun things you forgot you have.
But what if it didn’t stop with just toys? What if it also showed you pictures of your clothes and your food and your home? What if it showed the blankets that keep you warm at night and the hot water heater that heats up your water for a bath? What if it was filled with pictures of people who love you and even pictures of God and all the good things He is doing in your life?
That would be an amazing catalogue, wouldn’t it? Instead of making you think of all the stuff you don’t have, it would make you thankful for all the things you do have.
We probably won’t have a catalogue like that waiting for us in our mailbox, but God wants us to have one in our heart. It’s called gratitude. God loves it when we spend more time focused on all the goods things we have instead of complaining about the things we wish we had. It sets us free from greed and envy and lots of other bad stuff.
There’s a great story in the Bible where Jesus healed ten men of a terrible skin disease called leprosy. Not only did this disease cause the men a lot of pain but it meant that they had to leave their families and their jobs and couldn’t even go to the place where they worshipped God.
When Jesus healed these ten men, He gave them their lives back. They were so excited that they ran off to tell everyone what happened. Except for one guy. He didn’t run away. He ran back to Jesus. Why? Just to say thank you.
You see, his heart was full of the pictures of what God had done for him, and he was truly thankful.
This holiday season, before you make any Christmas lists, make a gratitude list and tell God and your family all the things you are thankful for in your life. It’s the best way to get what you really want this Christmas, a heart that is full of joy.
God, thank you for loving me and giving me so much. Help me to keep my eyes on the good things I already have in life instead of the things I don’t have. Help me to be thankful today. Amen.
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