The Value of Thanksgiving, Rev. John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg

Sunday School Material on Luke 17:11-17

Introduction
The value of expression of gratitude through thanksgiving cannot be downplayed in human existence. One of the purposes in which God expects us to financially give is to express our gratitude to him. Indeed, through financial giving, we can express our deep gratitude and appreciation to God. The Psalmist enjoins believers to bless the Lord for all his benefits (Psalm 103).

Explaining Luke 17:11-17
Luke 17:11-17 is one of the key passages that brings out the need for thanksgiving. This text suggests that people who had leprosy were required to stay away from other people and to announce their presence if they had to come near. Any leper who thought his leprosy had gone away had to present himself or herself to a priest who had to declare him clean (Lev. 14). This passage tells us that Jesus sent the ten lepers to the priest before they were healed. All responded in faith and thus Jesus healed them on the way.

Jesus healed all the ten lepers, but only one returned to show appreciation to Him. It is possible to receive God’s great gifts with an ungrateful heart or spirit. It is important to point out that only the grateful Christians grow in understanding God’s grace. God is pleased when His servants express their gratitude to Him.

Dynamics of Gratitude from Christian Perspective
1. Gratitude is the appropriate response to a benevolently given gift, or to what someone is, or has done for one. It is a happy emotion, a gladness to have what is given, and to receive it in particular from the giver.

2. Gratitude is the affirmation of certain bond between the giver and the recipient. That is a bond of continual relationship between the giver and the recipient.

3. Gratitude motivates action. However, the truly grateful person does not see such actions as repayment of any debt.

4. It is a way of saying that we have not forgotten God’s numerous blessings upon our lives (Deuteronomy 8:10-19; Psalm 103).
 God forgives our sins and heals our diseases
 Redeems us from death
 Crowns us with love and compassion
 Satisfies our desires and gives righteousness and justice

The list continues. It can be summed up in the major dimensions of life: social blessings, material or physical blessings, spiritual and psychological blessings. One receives all these without deserving any of them. But God gives them to us freely.

5. Thanksgiving recognizes God as the source
Thanks offering is a way of saying that the physical blessings received is linked to a spiritual source who is God (1 Corinthians 4:7).

6. Expression of gratitude has a socio-cultural and ethical dimension
Courtesy demands that. The Akan culture for instance demands that appreciation for offer received is given to the one due as seen in funeral celebrations.

Conclusion and Application
As you reflect through the above passage (Luke 17), God should be the number one being to express your gratitude to. Be it occasional, circumstantial or daily. For it is in God we exist and have our being. Consider key people in your life that you need to show appreciation to. Your parents, pastors, teachers and love ones. Learn to say thank you at all times. Find somebody in your life to thank all the time. Thus, thanks offering has both horizontal and vertical dimensions. That is to God and to humankind.

God always become pleased as His children thank Him for who He is, and for the numerous favours received from Him. The price of ungrateful heart or spirit cannot be paid. Like the 9 lepers who failed to render their appreciation to God, God begins to ask where we are when we fail to thank Him (Luke 17:17b). Wherever grateful hearts flow, generous giving becomes abundant. And God’s people become filled with joy. Gratitude to God thus brings about generous giving that releases joy that is so divine and so glorious!

Questions
1. Why is it that out of the ten Lepers who were healed, only one returned to show appreciation?
2. Why is it sometimes difficult for us to render our appreciation to others?
3. State three importance of showing our gratitude to God.
4. Gratitude is connected to joy. Explain.

About revfosu

Rev. John Kwasi Fosu is an ordained Baptist Minister of the Gospel, a Biblical Theological Lecturer and a Doctoral Candidate at Hamburg University
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