On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19
As we are approaching Thanksgiving I started to reflect on those individuals in Scripture who expressed thanksgiving to God. They demonstrate many wonderful reasons to praise Him. Hannah prayed for a son, and exalted God when He honored her request (1 Samuel 2). David thanked God in the Psalms for his success in battles. Mary sang in thanksgiving that God had chosen her among women to give birth to the Messiah. Paul was thankful to God for the church in Philippi who supported his work in spreading the Gospel. But the individual that drew my attention the most was the single leper of ten, who, after he was healed, returned to Jesus to praise and thank Him. I had always focused on the sad fact that the others failed to thank God for the incredible gift of healing that they received. But there was more to the one individual’s thankfulness that sparked my interest this time around—how he praised God. The Scripture records that he praised God “with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks.” All of the lepers had previously made their requests by “lifting their voices.” I can relate to that. How often have I raised my voice in desperate prayer to God? But how often has my thankfulness been equally passionate? The leper didn’t just thank Jesus, he thanked Jesus loudly and with abandon.
Wonderful reasons abound to thank God, but how I thank God matters as well. Shouldn’t my praises be at least as passionate as my supplications? It was that kind of bold faith and gratitude that Jesus commended.