A Thanksgiving Day Message
NINE WENT AWAY Luke 17:11-19
Ten men came to Jesus one day, ten men with nothing to be thankful for – they were lost in the pit of leprosy. With nothing further to lose but everything to gain they came, cried and claimed His cure. Then in one glorious, blinding moment they had everything to be thankful for! Their leprosy had been cured and they had found a new life of restoration!
But there is a bitter tragedy in the very heart of this testimony of triumph. It is a tragedy which has been repeated over and over again down the long corridor of years, upon the very part and from the very heart of those who profess Christ. It is a tragedy of which YOU may have been guilty over and over again, and all without knowing it! It is the tragedy of forgetting that an experience in the heart and life is always meant to exercise itself in the expression of the lips and the voice. A touch from the Lord is always meant to teach us to say. “Thank you, Lord!”
Only one of the ten men remembered and returned. The other nine just went away – happy but heedless; remembering to tell loved ones, no doubt, but forgetting to thank the One who healed them. They were like so many present-day Christians – so filled with the good things of the Lord, but so empty in returning praise and thanksgiving.
Perhaps these nine never knew it – perhaps they would have been frightened or humbled if they had known, but in a solemn, spiritual sense, they went away to form the charter membership of one of the most Christ-wounding societies on the face of this earth, which since that time has tragically grown to cover the earth with a membership that is not even aware of its existence; and even less aware that they are an active part of it!
The society? It can go under many names. I choose to call it, “The Ancient Society of the Thankless Nine.”
There is only one mark for membership. When I call it to your attention, I pray that you will bow your head, humble your heart and let a solemn hush steal over your soul. Here is the mark: Just forget to say ‘Thank you’ to the Lord Jesus, whenever He has done something for you.
Think back. Were there not times when He was so real, so dear, so near? When He so blessedly revealed Himself? When He led so lovingly? When He guided so graciously? When He protected so powerfully? When He supplied with such sufficiency? And perhaps you think back now with tears and a torn heart.
Think of today. Thanksgiving is here, with so much to remind us of to pause for the giving of thanks, this should be a holy day rather than a holiday.
Think again of the blessed Lord Jesus. In the very gathering of the long shadows of Calvary; He paused, “and gave thanks.” Luke 22:17. Say not that He who drained the cup for us in our stead shall receive in return naught save the bitter dregs of thanklessness! Such a tragedy at Thanksgiving is a sign of a leprosy of the soul.
Or perhaps you never have reached out and accepted the free gift which God offers you in Christ Jesus. To all men, doomed because of sin to eternal separation from God, He has made available eternal salvation. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God… The wages of sin is death… But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8
But He will not force His gift upon you – you must reach out by faith and accept Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death as having been for you, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” I Peter 2:24.
Then, having accepted this Gift, join the Lord’s people at this Thanksgiving time in praise to Him who is the giver of every good gift.