Do you need a “gratitude adjustment?” It sure seems like the world around us could use one. After arguments on masks, vaccines, CRT, voting fraud and the future of our nation, many people have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth and anguish in their hearts. The air has been filled with the negativity and division, and our hearts have felt the brunt of a such heavy issues and debates. It seems more than ever we need to search for what we are grateful for, and fight to maintain a heart of thanks. This is not just wishful and positive thinking, but this is actually a biblical mandate from heaven. God wants and calls for us to continually give thanks. The Bible is a book of thanks.

Last week, we looked at a story in Luke 17 where Jesus healed 10 lepers. Lepers were outcasts in this culture and time period — deemed to be unclean and unfit to interact with society. When Jesus healed them, it was not only a physical miracle, but he was also giving them their life back. They would once again be able to enter into the mainstream of their society and community. They should have felt immense gratitude.

The story tells us that 1 out of the 10 returned to give thanks, falling at Jesus’ feet in gratitude and praise (Luke 17:15,16). We can see from the story that God loves gratitude. Jesus was pleased with this man’s response of praise and thanksgiving. He declared him to be healed because of his faith. Jesus saw his thanks as sign of his faith and trust in God. Jesus loves a heart of thankfulness as it is often a sign of our faith and trust. Hear this: God loves a heart of gratitude.

And God hates a lack of gratitude. While he loved the one leper’s response of thankfulness, we also get a glimpse of his disappointment in the other nine. Jesus asked, “Were not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? (Luke 17:18). You can see that Jesus is perplexed by their lack of gratitude. There life has been completely changed for the better, yet they do not stop to come back and thank Jesus. As much as God loves a grateful heart, I believe he cannot stand ungrateful hearts. I believe he knows that a lack of gratitude will lead us into a place of selfishness, bitterness, fear, pride, and a lack of love. The apostle warns us that in the last days, people’s hearts will grow cold and they will be filled with all manner of sinful issues stating people will be “proud, selfish, unforgiving, unholy, lovers of money, etc…” In the midst of all of this, Paul mentions they will be “ungrateful.” We do not think of ungratefulness as a great big, bad sin but it is actually a sign of the hardness of heart that is found in the last days.

It seems that a “gratitude adjustment” might be a pretty big deal. Do you need to recalibrate your life to lean into thankfulness. Gratitude is a lifestyle that we must learn and then proactive. Last week, I encouraged you to think of and write down three to five things each day that you are thankful for. There are truly many benefits to pursuing gratitude. We please God, we might lower our blood pressure, release healthy chemicals to our brain (oxytocin) and protect our hearts (physically and spiritually), make us more people, etc. Continue to give thanks this week to God, but plan each day to reach out to someone and thank them. Thank them for the difference they make in your life, or for something they have done. And then ponder this statement: What if becoming grateful for the life you already have is key to gaining the life you always wanted! And that’s the Word.

The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at david@sscommunitychurch.org or 634-2960.

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