Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
What is thankfulness?
The Aramaic word is “yadah” which means to give praise. In Greek, it is “eucharistos” giving of thanks. In contrast, grumbling is “lun” in the original language which means to murmur, to growl. Or “goggyzo
” to murmur or mutter with muffled undertones, to show smoldering discontent, droning in on a low constant murmur.
Are we guilty of grumbling?If we are truly being, growing and enjoying our transformation into Christ-likeness then one of the characteristics we should develop is being thankful for all things. Thankfulness then is being grateful, while grumbling is complaining and being ungrateful.
Luke 17:11-19 tells us of the ten lepers who came to Jesus because they knew that He could heal them instantaneously. Similarly many of us today, also come to Jesus expecting instantaneous relief, instantaneous healing, supernatural interventions. . . but that is not the way it happens. When the ten lepers went to Jesus, what did Jesus say? He said “ Go and show yourselves to the priests.” This simply means that we too must do our part and not be mere bystanders.
There were ten lepers and yet when they saw that they were healed, only one came back to Jesus and glorify God (verse 16). Out of the ten who were healed, only one — the Samaritan, returned to give Jesus thanks. At that Jesus asked in verse 17 “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
We have to take note that the healing did not happen when they arrived at their destination, but rater the actual healing happened as they were going. While all ten of them were healed, only one had the heart to come to Jesus and thank Him. Why this man, we may ask? What was it that drove him to come back Jesus said “your faith has made you well”
The Grumblings of the Israelites (The Book of Exodus)
These Israelites were a witness to God’s power and His goodness but instead of thanking and praising Him, they begin to complain.
First, they complained that they had no food. (Exodus 16:2-4)
Then they complained about water. (Exodus 17:1-4)
Then they complained about the manna. (Numbers 11:4-6)
They complained about the Promised Land. (Numbers 13:28-29)
They complained about their leaders. (Numbers 14:1-4)
Every time they grumbled and complained they would always compare their present situation to the abundance they thought they had in Egypt. They had conveniently forgotten that in Egypt they were treated cruelly as slaves. They forgot that God had delivered them from slavery and the misery of their life in Egypt. They choose to focus only on the abundance they remembered.
What is wrong about complaining? All complaints and grumbling eventually return to God. Moses in Exodus 16:8 said “ for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.” The Israelites were never content with what they had, but continued to grumbled and complain. They continued to focus on what they did not have. They kept looking back comparing their life now to the life they had – thinking that they had a better life in Egypt.
We too, fall into the same trap of complaining and grumbling about what we do not have instead of focusing on what we do have. All these grumbling and complaining all return to God. In the book of Jude he says, “ these people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” This is a warning to us Instead of filling our hearts with compliants, discontent and envy – we should develop an attitude of gratitude. An attitude of thanksgiving for all that we have and keep our focus on Jesus not on what we do not have. We should “stop complaining about the pieces you didn’t get, instead thank Him for the masterpiece that He’s made you.” (catalyst quote, Nate)
What then is the cure to grumbling? The cure is FAITH. “Faith is the confidence that we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1. The Israelites saw only the negative in what they were encountering and refused to look at the bigger picture that God was bringing them to the Promised Land. They lost sight of the fact that it was God planning all these for them. Today, we too fall into the same trap. Focusing on what we do not have and forgetting that God has plans for us as He promised in Jeremiah 29:11. It is the same assurance He gives us in Romans 8:28. This reminds us that even in our worst circumstances that God allows, we should continue to have faith that He is continually working for what is good for us.
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, our problems do not magically disappear but because we are growing into Christ-likeness then we are learning that in ALL circumstances God works for the good of those who love Him. When we choose to obey God our circumstances does not necessary change, the apostles were martyred but they followed God. God is not a genie or ATM, and it does not necessarily follow that because we follow God we will get all that we want – then our motives, our hearts are in the wrong place. We should focus our eyes on the Giver and not the gifts. If we obey God with the motive o being blessed, we forget the more important fact – that we are already blessed because of God’s presence in my life.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 reminds us to “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thinks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It is God’s desire for His people to be thankful – in everything. . . for the good things, for the most so good things, for the more challenging things because we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. We often miss the point – we should focus not on what we want of our lives but rather what God wants for us. Many times this is our source of struggle – but Philippians 4:6 tells us Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God.” It is God’s desire for us that when we pray, we pray in thanksgiving. . . because in every prayer petition we must always keep in mind and by faith believe that God has great plans for us – they may not be what we expect or what we want but we should continue to have faith that God is intricately involved in our life and He is continually working in our circumstances . . . or in us. Maybe it is not our circumstances that need changing. . . but rather it is our hearts that need to be changed.
Let us be like the one leper, the Samaritan and be the one to return to God and give thanks. This Samaritan was not only healed from his leprosy but he also found Jesus Christ and was healed of his sins. Let us be the one that constantly remembers to say thank you Lord for everything.