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The Scriptorium

The Power of Thanksgiving

It can change your life. Luke 17.11-19

Luke 17 (4)

Pray Psalm 105.1, 2.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!

Sing Psalm 105.1, 2.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High; call on His Name, before Him cry!
Make known His deeds in every land; sing praise for all the works of His hand.

Read Luke 17.1-19; meditate on verses 11-19.


1. What did the lepers seek from Jesus?

2. Which of the lepers was most blessed?

Three important lessons emerge from this incident: Those who seek mercy from the Lord will find it. Mercy and blessing come to those who heed the Word of God. And faith and salvation increase as we give thanks to the Lord. I want to consider just this last lesson.

The story here is clear and sweet: Ten lepers seek healing from the Lord. All are healed and head off to follow the Word of the Lord, but only one returns to give thanks to Jesus. That one is not only healed, but saved (v. 19).

Obviously, thanksgiving is important. But why? First, because thanksgiving is a way for us “to give glory to God” (v. 18). This is what we are made and saved for. Our chief end in life is to know and enjoy the Lord and to glorify Him in all we do (1 Cor. 10.31). As we give thanks to the Lord, we acknowledge that He is the Giver of every good gift and sovereign in every situation. We deserve nothing good from Him because in us there exists no good thing. Thanking God opens the way for His grace to flow from us, pointing and drawing others to consider Him and His goodness.

Second, giving thanks keeps us on the upward cycle of increasing faith and salvation. As Paul explained (Rom. 1.18-32), when people fail to give thanks, they begin to drift and spiral away from God. Giving thanks reverses that trend, leading us to grow in love for God and determination to serve Him. Put another way, giving thanks is a sure way to increased health and wellness in our walk with and work for the Lord (v. 19).

Third, giving thanks in all things – good and bad things alike – expresses confidence in the Lord’s sovereign goodness and thus draws us into the orbit of His favor, where we find peace (Phil. 4.6, 7). It allows us to see our world from God’s vantage point, so that we live without fear, filled with hope.

No wonder Paul exhorts us to give thanks in everything, reminding us, as Jesus demonstrated in this situation, that giving thanks is God’s will (1 Thess. 5.18).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Moses was looking for any good excuse not to go back to Egypt or to lead the children of Israel out to the Promised Land. But God had plans for him which looked exactly like Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. And to encourage him, God said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (Ex. 3.12).

What? Yep. The confirmation to him would happen after he did what God told him to do. And Moses’ massive work of faith was commended by the New Testament writer of the book of Hebrews (Heb. 11.23-29).

Jesus dealt with the ten lepers in the same manner. “You want to be healed? I would like that to happen for you; but first, go and show yourselves to the priest” (Lk. 17.14). Their confirmation also happened after they did what Jesus told them to do.

When this active faith does not happen, it displeases the Lord. We saw that when Jesus said to the disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake” (Lk. 8.22). Yes, a storm arose, and yes, the boat may have been filling with water, and yes, they could have even asked Jesus for help. The problem was they said, “We are perishing!” (Lk. 8.24). Well, no, they weren’t, because Jesus had said they would get to the other side.
And for that, Jesus asked them, “Where is your faith?” (Lk. 8.25).

We can trust every word that is in the Bible. It is all true. It is all pure. It is all there for us to take to heart and do.
“The law of the L
ORD is perfect, converting the soul;
the testimony of the L
ORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the statutes of the L
ORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the L
ORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the L
ORD is clean, enduring forever;
the judgments of the L
ORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and
in keeping them there is great reward” (Ps. 19.7-11).

God’s Word—perfect in every way—is for us to obey. Up front. Always. Even before we know the reason or the outcome, we are to do it. Like Moses and the lepers.

Our calling in the Kingdom is much akin to what Tennyson wrote in his 1854 poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade: “Theirs not to make reply/Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die.”

In obedience, we have much to be thankful for, right now, every moment of every day; and in our thankfulness we “give glory to God. This is what we are made and saved for”. It is our purpose and plan.
We may not always feel like giving thanks, nor understand why we must do it, but after we do it, we will find peace. “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119.165).

We may as well believe it—like Moses and the lepers.

For reflection
1. How is obedience to God’s Word connected to faith? Does obedience earn faith or confirm it? Can it increase faith? Explain.

2. Why is it so hard for us as believers to give thanks to God more than we do?

3. What can happen in our faith if we neglect to give thanks?

You see, those who give thanks and those who glorify have the same kind of feelings. They bless their helper for the benefits they have received. That is why Paul urged everybody to “glorify God with your body.” Isaiah also commanded, “Give glory to God.”
Athanasius (295-373), Festal Letter 6

Pray Psalm 105.3-11.
Spend extended time in prayer, thanking the Lord for all the ways He has blessed you.

Sing Psalm 105.3-11.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Glory in God, rejoice in heart, all you who seek His holy part.
Him and His strength and Presence seek; His works proclaim, His judgments speak.

You holy children of Abraham, You chosen ones of Jacob, stand!
He is our Lord, of wondrous worth; His judgments are in all the earth.

He will His covenant faithfully guard – His oath, the promise of His Word.
That which He to our fathers swore, He will perform forevermore!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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