10 lepers healed. Only one turned around to say thanks.
Luke 17 relays a story that has lots to teach us about gratitude.
What strikes me is how these lepers, be they men or women, chased after Jesus. They pursued their healing, believing and reaching out to God for an answer.
True to His merciful nature, the miracle occurred. The group were healed and I’m sure were delighted. The strange thing is only one of them then sought out Jesus a second time to offer thanks for His healing.
I know I am guilty of being one of the no-thanks nine so often.
I set my heart on something, and once I have obtained it, all by the grace of God because nothing else can explain the generosity I have enjoyed, I move on to the next thing. My default seems to more naturally lean to familiarity and entitlement than gratitude.
Larna and I have always been active people, chasing some dream or other. But in the pursuit of the next mountain to conquer, way too often we’ve failed to turn back and count the blessings that have accumulated and the gifts that have already been bestowed.
Above all else, my wife is the greatest and most precious gift the Lord has ever given me. There have been times I have taken her love and devotion for granted, much to my own hurt.
My children are a blessing beyond price or description, but there are many times I’ve felt the burden rather than giving thanks for the blessing.
Swinging round to celebrate, to recognise and rejoice in all the goodnesses of God, is a choice we make. Yes, we can go on our merry way, healed of leprosy and ready to rock, but we miss the opportunity to draw the richest juice from life if we fail to swing round in thankful recognition. Appreciate God. Appreciate others. Appreciate your self.
Time to reflect
Turning back to thank God, and to lay to rest the disappointments and roll the care back on the Lord, furnishes us to move forward.
Following are some steps to take time for reflection, and to glean what we can from this past year.
- List all the good things that have come your way this past year. Take time to brainstorm and write down all the good things you’ve experienced this past year. Include things you were fully or partially responsible for as well as things that just happened to you serendipitously or through the thoughtfulness of others. Celebrate these blessings!
- Think of all those who helped you and invested in you this past year. No one ever accomplishes anything of significance without the help and input of others. Who are those people in your life? Make a list. Call them or write them a thank you note. Be specific in your gratitude and tell them how much they mean to you. If appropriate give a gift to express your gratitude and appreciation.
- What goals have you achieved this past year? This is an important part of reflection. We often live such hectic lives! No sooner do we complete one project and we’re on to the next without any thought for celebration or reflection. What specific accomplishments can you celebrate from this past year? List them all and humbly give thanks for them.
- What regrets or disappointments did you experience this past year? List these and learn from them. Where appropriate, take time to grieve over them, but give them a proper burial so you can move on. Consider what you can learn from this past year. Determine the source of your disappointment. Is it possible that you need to adjust your expectations? What else can you glean from any regrets or disappointments you have from this past year? What safeguards can you put in place to avoid or minimize the chances of any of these negative experiences happening again?
- Share your reflections with a trusted friend. Once you have completed the four steps above, ask someone you trust and respect if you can share your reflections with them confidentially. After you’ve shared, ask them for their honest feedback. Thank them for their time and take their suggestions and responses to heart and consider what to do with them.
With our fast-paced lives, we seldom take time for reflection.
Reflecting on the past year can also help us avoid the same mistakes and establish new habits and processes to increase our success in business. And of course, all those things play into our physical and spiritual health as well.
Don’t wait! Swing round and put a date on your calendar today for taking time to reflect, thanking God, and squeezing the juice out of your journey.