Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” According to this passage, God gives humanity over to depravity when, in foolish pride, they fail to give thanks.
Recently I had a, “Jesus, have mercy on me!” moment. I have a lot of them — especially at work! I was, what some would call “proactive” and applied my own brand of “damage control.” When the situation passed and the fallout had been averted, I quietly gave myself praise. I forgot all about my secret cry for mercy! I forgot all about the sovereign God, of whom Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem when he was met by ten men who had leprosy. They pleaded, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” Jesus healed all ten of them, but verse fifteen tells us that only one came back to give thanks. “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 responded in a way that ought to put the fear of God in all of us. “Were not all ten cleansed?” he asked. “Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Bottom line: God notices when we fail to give thanks.
Now, we can make special efforts to remember to give God thanks. That’s a good discipline to develop, but true thankfulness can only take place within the context of a renewed mind and regenerated heart. Colossians 2:6-7 is key, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
My prayer for us today is that we be found in him. May we continue to live in him, be rooted in him, and be built up in him. And, may the evidence of this union be a heart that is overflowing with thankfulness.