In this message, we learn that a grateful heart creates an overflowing life.
Alright, hey, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you are here with us today, whatever your campus you’re at, whether you’re in Flower Mound, Lewisville, The Venue, wherever you are, watching online in the world. Can we all just welcome each other together for a moment? We are so glad that you are here and I am so glad to be back with you. I have missed you. Your smiling faces, your worshiping hearts, it is good to be back home at Valley Creek Church. Thank you for allowing me and my family to have a few weeks of rest. One of the things we say around here all the time is, is we want to do this a long time together. But the only way that’s possible is if you stay healthy. And it’s on all of us to choose the responsibility of making our own selves healthy because no one else can make us healthy. And so really for the last few weeks, I mean, we just kind of rested. I played with my kids, I hanged out with my wife, I talked with Jesus and it was really good for my soul. If the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children, then sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is play. Sometimes, we just need to enjoy our lives.
So I learned how to throw a football with my left hand, I braided doll hair. I played lots of board games, watched a lots of kid movies and had lots of good conversations with Jesus and it is good to be back here with you. I’ve had a really good summer and it’s been a great summer here at Valley Creek Church. I mean, the things that have been happening from Epic to Hub Camp to the summer fun initiatives that we’ve been doing to serving days to this healthy relationship series that we’ve just finished up. I mean, our teaching team did an amazing job of walking us through that content. And teaching us what healthy relationships look like in our lives. And so my encouragement to you is don’t let that be just a series, like lean into that truth because it’s God’s theme for our church this year, healthy relationships. It’s an area that he’s moving, there’s a favor on it. And so take those Ephesians verses that we’re memorizing together, keep them in your heart because the quality of your relationships will determine the quality of your life more than anything else. And so, I just want you to know how grateful I am, not only for you, but how grateful I am for our team. Like, they really do love us and lead us and serve us so incredibly well every single week. Like our team has grown so much and they’ve come so far and I want you to always remember, we are always better together. Like when every one of us does what we are created and gifted and called to do, there’s an exponential return because one can put a thousand to fly, but two can put 10,000 to fly, like we’re a church that believes in shared leadership. You say, what does that mean, it means we are not built on the gifts of a few but rather on the sacrifices of the many.
In fact, what I really believe is that the future of God’s church is global church, it is found in the ancient wisdom of scripture, not in the trendy methods of the moment. In fact, this is God’s heart for his church. Ephesians 4:11 says, “It was Jesus who gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people, you, for works of service so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of man, and their deceitful scheming, instead speaking the truth and love we will, in all things, grow up into Him who is the head that is Christ from Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, healthy relationships.
It grows and builds itself up and love as each part does its work. Jesus says that the way His church is suppose to function is that He gave the church shared leadership, multiple leaders to prepare you to be the greatest kingdom leader you can be, which means we need multiple voices, multiple teachers, multiple leaders. And we need you to be fully engaged with who God has created you to be if we ever want to become the fullness of the maturity of what Jesus offers us as His church. I don’t know about you but I want the fullness of what Jesus offers. And so I am excited about how He has designed His church to function, that is the direction that we’re going because the reality is, as God’s ways, get kingdom results. It might not be trendy, it might not be the method, it might not be cool in the world, but if it’s the ancient wisdom of scripture, it is God’s way and it will bring kingdom results. And so all I’m trying to — and he’s like, “What are you talking about, bro?” I’m just trying to tell you, I’m excited about where we’re going and I want to take a moment to just point out to you that shared leadership and believing in the redempt of potential of humanity, you, becoming the fullness of who God made you to be is the future of the family of this church. We’re going to talk more about it in the days to come, this is just a great moment to say, “Hey, the future of God’s church is a family being built together by a loving father sending us out to change the world.” Okay?
Alright, so. If you got a bible, Luke Chapter 17, we’re going to start a new series today called grateful, the key to living a full life. And if you have been around Valley Creek Church for any period of time, you know usually when I take a break and come back, man, I come back like guns ablazing. I usually come back with all kinds of passion and vision and revelation, all the stuff that God’s been teaching me. And so I just can’t wait until like unload it and share it with you. But, how many of you know that God rarely does the same thing the same way twice? God is always doing a new thing because he wants us to look for Him instead of trusting in ourselves. And so if I’m honest with you on this break, I was really confused about halfway through, I’m thinking, “God, like, why aren’t you talking to me? Like, where is all this stuff that you’re giving me for the next season?” And, as I process with the Lord, what I felt like He was doing was He was saying, “Hey, before I give you all the next stuff of where we’re going to go, I kind of want you guys to stop and reflect and be grateful for where you’ve been.” You see, Thanksgiving is not a holiday, it’s a way of life. You know that, right? Gratitude is more than turkey. Pumpkin pie and cowboys’ losses, I mean, it’s a lot more.
I’m just saying. It’s — I’m giving you hope, there’s more to it than that. And the reality is, is that you can have everything the world offers and still have an empty life, or you can have nothing and have an overflowing life. An overflowing life is only available to a grateful heart and the truth is, when you can learn to be grateful for where you’ve been, where you are, it positions you to get where you’re going. And so we’re going to take the next couple weeks and we’re going to talk about a topic that maybe isn’t super inspiring but if you can grab it, you will have a life that is more than half full, it’s overflowing. So, Luke 17, starting in verse 11, it says, now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, 10 men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 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 asked, “Were not all 10 cleansed? Like, where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Then he said to him, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.” Okay. I want to give you five thoughts, I normally don’t do five, it’s too many but that’s what I got for you. I got five thoughts for you on why gratitude matters, the key to living an overflowing life. And the first thing is this, gratitude is a response to God’s grace. I mean, this is really an incredible story. It says Jesus is going through the border. And when he’s in the border, he runs into 10 men who have leprosy. And it’s a significant statement because it’s a reminder to us that Jesus is always going to the borders of life trying to find those who are on the fringe. He’s looking for those who are lost and discarded, broken and abandoned. Jesus is always looking for the people who are least deserving, least expecting. He’s always going to the places you and I tend to avoid. And I love that it says, he runs into 10 men who have leprosy, not 10 lepers. Which is significant because it reminds us that Jesus doesn’t see messy people, he sees people in a mess.
Jesus doesn’t see messy people, he sees people in a mess. He didn’t see 10 lepers, he saw 10 men made in the image and likeness of God who were stuck in some brokenness and he was there to set them free. And when he came to where they were, they saw Jesus, they cried out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” And I love what Jesus does, he says, “Okay, go show yourselves to the priests.” In other words, he gives them a next step. Like, the whole next step thing, you realize, like we didn’t make that up. It’s not like original does, we can’t trademark that, like that’s really how like Jesus does things. He gives them a next step because the reality is, is everything you need is available to you but sometimes you just have to have the faith to go and get it. He gives them a next step and as they went, it says, they were cleansed. Simply obedience will always bring you significant breakthrough in your life.
So if you want a life of miracles, just do what He tells you to do. So as they went, they were cleansed, verse 15, one of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice, threw himself at Jesus’ feet, thanked Him and he was a Samaritan. In other words, as this guy takes his next step, realize he’s cured of leprosy, his only natural response is to come back and give thanks to Jesus. You see, you have to understand how bad leprosy was. It’s a contagious, incurable, isolating, numbing disease that makes you die this slow death. And so when he’s cured of this, his natural response is to come back and give thanks. When he realize this, who Jesus is and what Jesus has done, he can’t help but come back and worship and have this moment of gratitude with God. And the reason this is such a significant story for you and I is because you understand, we are the lepers. Like leprosy is a picture of sin. It’s a physical picture of a spiritual truth.
Sin is just leprosy of the soul. It’s an incurable, contagious, isolating, numbing disease of your soul. And just like these men, we are left to the borders of life. We’re out there on the fringe, lost, broken and alone, and then one day when we least deserve it and least expect it, Jesus comes walking over the horizon and sets us free. I mean, Ephesians 2 says this, “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your sins, you are lepers.” You used to live in sin just like the rest of the world on the outskirts, obeying the devil, the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit that worked in the hearts of those who refused to obey God, all of us used to live that way following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger just like everyone else. But, God, who was so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much that even though we were dead, we were lepers because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved. I was dead, I am now alive. I was lost, I am now found. I was broken, I am now healed. I was dirty, I’m now cleaned. I was a leper and I now have been cured. The only natural response to that is to give thanks to God.
But you will never appreciate the depths of God’s grace until you first understand the depths of your sin. And so if there’s not a lot of gratitude in our lives, it’s because we have forgotten how much grace has been given to us. And the problem with that is, is when you forget where you have been, you will lose sight of where you’re going. So my question for you today is, what is your current level of gratitude like show you about your willingness to receive the fullness of the grace of God? Secondly, I want you to get is this, is that gratitude keeps us humble. Like it’s amazing to me how fast we can take credit for God’s work in our lives. Like these nine guys, they get healed, right? There’s 10 of them but one comes back. These nine guys, they get healed and I’m sure when they first went home, the first thing they said to people, like, “What happened?”, or like, “Oh, I don’t know, there’s a guy named Jesus, the guy showed up and healed me”, and like I’m sure they gave Him a little bit of credit. But don’t you know like his life goes on and the guy goes like back to work, the story would have changed? Like just picture this one guy, like, at work like six months later, “Well, you know, Bob, yes, I did have leprosy at one time.”
But I decided I was going to be healed of leprosy so I started running 10 miles every single day, Bob. I, through discipline, decided to be gluten free, dairy free, nut free, corn free, soy free, everything free. I only ate organic, farm-raised animals. I juice three times a day. I woke up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to have my quiet time. I took these special supplements, which you should take too, and I now sell. So, I have them available for you right here and right now. Yes, the truth is, Bob, I just woke up one day and I was healed of leprosy. I worked very hard to make that happen. This is ridiculous, right? But don’t you know that’s how we sell. I mean, we sit there and we come and take the credit for the good things in our lives. Like our family and our health, and our finances and we have this little formulas of why our life is better than the people’s live around us, what we did to get to that place. And sometimes without even realizing it, our lack of gratitude makes us independent instead of God dependent.
And we start to think that what we have in our life actually comes from us and we forget verses like James 1:17, every good gift comes down from the Father of heavenly lights. We forget John 3:27 that a man can only receive what he’s been given to him from heaven. We forget Deuteronomy 8:18, it says, remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce that wealth, that you take so much confidence and pride in. I mean, the question that I would ask you is, is hey, like, do you spend more time saying, “Look what I did”, or do you spend more time saying, “Look what God did”. I mean, think of this guy as he comes back. He comes back, that’s the key of the whole thing, it says he comes back, which takes intentionality, throws himself at Jesus’ feet which takes humility and he worships in a loud voice. And it reminds us that gratitude is always expressive, external and uncontrollable. It’s always expressive, it’s always external and it’s always uncontrollable, until then, it’s just a nice thought in your mind. You realize until you actually say I’m thankful, you’re not actually thankful. It has to actually come out of here to be a reality and can you just imagine the crowd watching this guy throw himself at Jesus’ feet because you know it says, in a loud voice, he thanked him. He didn’t say, “Thank you, Jesus.”
I would do it for you, but there’s no need. You get the picture. In a loud voice and you can picture the crowd, you know, but he didn’t care. Jesus just changed his life and so the only natural response is to come back and give grace and thank you. He doesn’t mind being humble. But can you imagine that story in today’s American church. Can you just imagine though, like if they’re just having today’s American church, like can you imagine somebody come back and like be like, “Hey, Jesus, bro, like, I wouldn’t do that public worship thing. So listen, I’d like to say thanks, but if we could like go in a private room so no one would see us because like I got an image, you know, to take care of. Or, we would do it very stoically, you know, like, thank you, Jesus, for what you did, like a robot.” Or King James English, you know, like thou my savior is, thank you. You’re like — like what? Listen, my little girl turned eight this last week, okay. Have you ever watched an eight-year old girl open birthday presents?
Sometimes I buy her presents just to watch her reaction, because she goes berserk, “Oh my goodies, thank you, Daddy, this is amazing.” Spinning, twirling, summer salts, you know, it’s like a $5 thing. She’s going absolutely crazy. That term squealing like a little girl, if you’ve got a little girl, you know exactly what I’m talking about when they get presents, okay. Here is the tweet of the sermon. Some of us need to start squealing like a little girl. Seriously. Who cares about your image? Who cares? You had leprosy of the soul. And in Jesus, you don’t. I mean, you have to understand, gratitude is humility expressed. What you’re doing when you give thanks is you’re acknowledging that you need God and other people in your life. You’re actually admitting that God did something for you that you could never do for yourself and it is really hard to have a prideful heart when you’re saying words like, thank you. And it’s really important for us to learn to say thank you to one another because thanking each other teaches us how to give thanks to God.
Because it teaches us how to be people in a humble posture of receptivity. In fact, I want you to know, like gratitude is probably one of the biggest things I look for in people because grateful people are humble people and humble people know how to receive which means they have so much to give. Think about that. And what I think is amazing in these passages, it reminds us that gratitude actually is worship. So when we’re worshipping, we’re giving thanks to God for who He is, we’re lifting Him up in our lives. And when you have a high view of Jesus, you will have a healthy view of yourself. When we worship, we’re not just singing songs to kill time to the sermon, we’re telling God who He is and what He has done in our lives. And, in fact, maybe let me say it to you like this, worship is the antidote for pride. And pride comes from the heart that still thinks it has something to prove. What do you still have to prove? Because Jesus has proved it for all of us.
So where do you need to humble yourself and give thanks? Third thing I want you to give is this, gratitude builds your faith. This is huge. See if you can catch this. When we give thanks to God, what we’re doing is we’re connecting God to the good things in our lives, in our minds, and in our hearts and in our spirits. When you give thanks to God, you’re connecting the good things in your life to God and what you’re doing is you’re stopping for a moment to acknowledge, like, “Hey, that provision and that protection and that healing and that health and saving me, like that was from God.” And when you stop to acknowledge that God has moved in your life, your faith begins to grow. Like Hebrews 11:1 tells us what faith is. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Just think about this. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what I do not see.
So when I start giving thanks to God for what I have seen, my belief and what I haven’t seen begins to grow. When I start giving thanks to God for He has done, my faith in what He has yet to do begins to grow. When I start to acknowledge that God has moved, all of a sudden, I start to have a faith to expect He’s going to move. Like when this one guy comes back and gives thanks to Jesus, and again, come back is the most important thing. It happened and he had a choice. He came back and when he gave thanks, he was connecting his healing to Jesus. So don’t you know that when he leaves and he goes through life, he’s going to totally expect God to move on his behalf again. He’s not going to be worried about getting a job or the protection of his kids or where he’s going to go. He’s totally going to expect God to move. And when something crazy happens in his life, something impossible, he’s going to draw on this healing because he remembers who God is and what God has done. And he’s going to have faith. The other nine, they’re going to go onto total panic mode because their faith never grew through their own miracle, because they never came back to give thanks.
I mean, God’s faithfulness yesterday gives us the faith we need for today. But if I never thanked Him for what He did yesterday, I’ll never have any faith for today. That’s the Israelites’ problem. I mean, you read about the Israelites. Think about this. They were the generation that experienced more miracles on the face of the earth than any other generation that ever lived in human history. And they were literally like the most faithless people you could find. I mean, think about it. God brought the 10 plagues and set them free in Egypt. He parted the Red Sea, million people cross lands or island. Manna every day from heaven, not like once a month, once a year, even once a week, every day from heaven, water from a rock, beating nations of giants and every time they ran into a new obstacle, they panicked and freaked out. Why? Because they never thank God for the last thing He did. So they had no faith for the next thing He wanted to do.
Over and over and over again, their faith didn’t grow and their hearts didn’t mature. They didn’t thank Him for what He did so they had no faith for what He wanted to do. I mean, listen to this verse, Romans 1:22, says, for although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him. But their thinking became feudal and their foolish hearts were dark and prophesied to be wise, they became fools. That’s like way sobering. You get that, right? It’s to say they saw God do all these things but because they never gave Him thanks, they started to think like the world and their hearts became hard. A lack of gratitude in our lives is actually agreement with the kingdom of darkness. And an ungrateful heart is actually the birthplace of a spirit of pride, or excuse me, a spirit of doubt. An ungrateful heart is the birthplace of a spirit of doubt.
Just think of Jesus and the disciples. Remember when he feeds 5,000 people five lobes two fish? That’s like a miracle of all miracles. And the best part about it was it happened in the disciples’ hands. And then it says it’s over and they picked up all the pieces, Jesus puts them in a boat, sends them out into the water and as they go, big storm develops. And they kind of panicked and freaked out and Jesus has to come and calm everything down and He looks at them and He says, “Why do you have such little faith? What’s going on here? Don’t you remember what we just did like literally like an hour ago?” But they didn’t. There is no record of the disciples thanking Jesus for the feeding of the 5,000. So literally, a few hours later, they need the faith from yesterday, from that moment, for what God wanted to do in their life then. But because they never thanked Him for how He had moved, they had no faith to expect Him to move. Does that make sense to you? I am convinced that the low level of faith that exists in the church today is because we have ungrateful hearts.
If we would just start thanking God for what He did, I think our faith would go through the roof just like that. I mean, listen, when my summer break started, I was really disappointed in my kids. Can I say that? Like I was really disappointed. Like the first week, like they were driving me crazy because they weren’t grateful for like anything. And all the kid, we want this, and can we do this, and this and this, and they were never been thankful for anything they had. And I was like, “Man, these are colleagues’ children, these ain’t my kids.” You know. And so I’m all grumpy about it or whatever and then God just kind of spoke to me, He said, “You know, you’re just like them.” Me like them? Those are colleagues’ children, don’t you know? She’s actually a very grateful person but you know how parents like or I like when your kids aren’t behaving, right, they’re the spouse’s kids, not yours and then boom. Because, yeah, you’re just like them. I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Yeah, you spend most of your time asking me to do something instead of thanking me for what I’ve already done.”
I had to think about it for a moment, I was like, okay. Most of my career time is asking God to move and do big things instead of thanking Him for the big things He’s already done. And I started thinking, isn’t that the problem with our prayer lives. The problem isn’t that we don’t pray. The problem is, is that we pray and we ask God to move but we forget to come back and say thanks. Like how many of you — guys, like how many of you have been sitting in a deer blind and a really nice deer walks out, and what is the first thing you do? Dear Jesus, please help me make a good shot. If you never prayed that prayer, that’s why you don’t have a deer on your wall. You know, or we’re a student, we’re going to school, what do we pray? God, help me do good on this test today, or an interview, God, please help me get through this interview. Give me this job. Or God, please protect my kids today when they go, or Lord, would you please provide for us in this. And then what happens? God does it. He actually does what we ask Him to do, but instead of us coming back and thanking Him, we’re just all excited we celebrate but we don’t worship.
We asks, He moves, we forget to come back and say thank you. And so our faith never actually grows. So we get stuck in this place where we kind of lived from crisis to crisis. In fact, these guys, these nine guys, this is our prayer life. Jesus, Master, have pity on us. Okay. He heals them. And they go back to their life. If Jesus is master when we are in need, He cannot be irrelevant when we have plenty. If we seek Him when we’re desperate, we cannot ignore Him when we’ve been delivered. And so maybe we need to change our prayer life, maybe 90% of what we pray should be gratitude, because you realize like God already knows what you need before you ask Him. And He promises He will move on your behalf so maybe we don’t have to petition Him as hard as we do. Maybe we should just spend more time thanking Him for what He has done, our faith will grow and He will naturally do what He already wants to do in the midst of our lives. Does that make sense to you? And then your faith will start to grow. I mean, imagine if every day you said, God, thank you that you created the world. God, thank you that you brought Jesus to earth. Thank you that you raised him from the dead. Thank you that you poured out your holy spirit on me. Thank you that you’ve given me life. Thank you that you’ve given me hope. Thank you that you’ve given me my family and my health. I mean, just what — all of a sudden, your faith is going to grow for what He wants to do. Okay? So if we want to be people of faith, we have to learn to be people of thanks. That’s really how it works. Fourth thing I want you to get it is this, gratitude — are you still with me on this?
We all okay? Okay. Guns ablazing in the holsters. Gratitude is the pathway to encounters with God, like just think about this, all 10 God healed but only one had an encounter with Jesus. They all got healed, they all, from a distance, heard a word from Jesus, but the only one who came back to gave thanks actually got a touch from Jesus. And I think that’s actually a picture of how God leads us, like we’re on the fringe. We’re over here distant, afraid, broken, far from God, we cry out to Him and in His compassion, He moves and then He invites us to come close through gratitude. God’s goodness in our lives is always an invitation to press into His presence. Psalm 100 verse 4, enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name. He flat out says, “Hey, if you really want to encounter me, the way in is gratitude.” Gratitude. Gratitude doesn’t make God come, it reminds me He’s already here. Gratitude takes my attention off of my own life, my own stuff and it puts it on Him. It reminds me, it makes me aware of the goodness of God. Gratitude doesn’t move God closer to you, it moves you closer to Him. And if you will read the scriptures, you will discover God hides himself in a way that He can only be found by the grateful heart.
He will speak to you and move in your life and then He didn’t chase them then at that point. He stood there and He waited. He hid himself in a way that he could only be fully found with a grateful heart. I mean, has anyone ever done something like incredible for you, like they just gave you something or did something, and it was like so amazing? And you were so moved by it you couldn’t wait to go give thanks to them. And when you went and gave thanks to them, like you had this moment with them, like this intimate moment you look in their eyes, you express your heart, you heard their — there was this deep profound connection. You know what I’m talking about? Same is true with Jesus. Gratitude creates encounters. Like do you remember the story of the road to Emmaus? Jesus has just been crucified, he’s dead, buried and gone, these disciples are hopeless, they think it’s over and they’re on a seven-mile journey, road to Emmaus. And the resurrected Jesus shows up, starts walking with these two guys. And they’re so defeated and broken by their own life that they don’t recognize it’s the resurrected Jesus, not for like five minutes, for seven miles.
And oh by the way, it says He’s teaching them the scriptures concerning himself. It’s just like the best sermon ever and they still can’t figure it out He’s Jesus. And so they finally get where they’re going, they sit down to have a meal with this guy they just think is a guy. Listen to this, it says when He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave, say it with me. Thanks. Broke it and began to give it to them, then their eyes were open and they recognized Him. The moment they gave thanks, boom, their eyes were open and they saw the presence of God in their life, and had an encounter. The moment you and I really start to give thanks, our eyes open and we see Jesus right here with us. We say we want to be a worshipping church, you say, what does that mean? It means we don’t want to stand way far off here and yell requests to God, we want to move in and have an encounter with Him.
We want a fresh touch, a fresh word, a fresh moment with God. We want to lean into His heart not just receive from His hand. I mean, the truth is, these nine guys got a word, one guy got a touch. What are you content with? Provision or the encounter? And every day, it’s our choice if we want to be grateful or if we want to stay afar. And the last thing I want you to get is this, it’s just that gratitude gives us a healthy heart. The concept of gratitude is interesting because what I want you to understand is God doesn’t ask us to give Him thanks for His good, it’s for our good. Psalm 136:1, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever. Catch it. When you give thanks, you’re reminding yourself God is good to you and you’re allowing His love to cast out your fear in the midst of your difficulties. Like, what’s fascinating about these guys, you understand they’re lepers. So they all get healed, they have this amazing moment but they got to go back to their lives. And their lives are like perfectly put back together yet.
Like, they’ve been lepers, so they have had no jobs, their wives may have gotten remarried. They may have lost their house. They really are kind of lost all this time and money, so it’s a little bit confusing and chaotic. And the truth is, is that these nine guys that just go back to their life because they don’t give thanks, don’t you know that in a short while, even though they got healed leprosy, they’re going to start grumbling about everything else. Like, the bank took my house and like nobody going to give up, you’re healed leper, a job in this town and, you know, it’s too hot and it’s too cold, and that restaurant this and, you know, this person on Facebook said that, and my kid’s school teacher did this, and this shouldn’t happen and why are they doing this in church again, you know, all I ask, okay. You know what I’m talking about? Do you know anybody like that? Do not look at the person next to you. You’re like, “Seriously, bro, you just got healed of leprosy.” Yeah, he did. But because he never came back and gave thanks to God, he’s going to see the rest of his life as half empty, not half full.
Because gratitude anchors our hearts in the goodness of God. The one leper that comes back and gives thanks, you realize he is going to see the rest of his life as half full, don’t matter where he goes. Because look at the last verse, then Jesus says to him, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.” Well, the Greek word sozo, save, heal, make whole. In other words, when we come back and humble ourselves to give thanks to God, what Jesus does is He reaches down because God lifts up the humble and He lifts us up and He says, “Rise and go, you are now well, you are now whole. You have been made clean and you can now go walk on the difficulties of your life with a great perspective.” Gratitude allows you to walk in victory. Not — well, I’ll say to you like this, they all got healed, only one of them got healthy.
I think there is a lot of us who all get healed. I don’t think there is a lot of us that always get healthy. Gratitude determines whether or not you see life as half empty of half full. I mean, listen to what David said, King David Psalm 23:5, you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. What? This is David in the valley of the shadow of death. This is David running from his life from Saul, this is David who’s hanging out in holes and caves and rocks. This is David who’s being persecuted and abandoned. We would all say forgotten and ignored by God and yet David says my cup runs over. How? Read the psalms because he spent more time thanking God for what God had done than complaining about what God hadn’t done. He wouldn’t look in at what his enemies were doing, he was celebrating what his God had already done.
He says, “My life is full because my God is good.” So how about you? Do you spend most of your time grumbling or gratitude? I mean, just — I’m challenged by this, so that’s what I’m saying. Just this week, have you spent more time grumbling about things or just being grateful for things? Because the truth is, is gratitude doesn’t change my circumstances but it will change my perspective. And if we will come back, that’s the key, come back and give thanks for what God has done. It anchors our heart to go back and walk through what has yet to be done. Gratitude reminds me that God is good even when the valley is dark. Only a grateful heart can have an overflowing life.
It’s not more money, it’s not a nicer house, it’s not getting that thing that you want, or life circumstances being just right. My cup runs over, because my heart is grateful for Him. He has been too good to me to not have a grateful heart. So you close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you — how about let’s just do this, what are you grateful for right now? How has Jesus moved in your life in some way? Maybe it’s simply, Jesus, thanks for my friends, thanks for my marriage, my kids. Jesus, thanks for this church, for your word. Jesus, thanks for my job and my house and my provision. Jesus, thank you that you have answered all those thousands of prayers I’ve mumbled under my breath but never come back to say thank you for. And thank you that you answer them not because I say thank you or will or won’t say thank you, but because your grace is all over my life. I really believe that if we want to be people that walk in victory, we just have to start with basis thank you’s. So Jesus, today, we say thank you. Thank you for who you are and what you have done. Today, we don’t come to you and ask you for anything, we celebrate that you have already decided to give us everything in Jesus. We receive it. We humble ourselves.
We acknowledge your grace, we want our faith to grow as we look back and say, “My God has always been with me and never left me nor forsaken me, so why would I think He will in the future.” Jesus, we want to be a people that learn how to have encounters with you, we are not content with provision, we want to touch. And so we come back to lay at your feet and we know that you will lift us up and give us a healthy heart to go back into this world that doesn’t always make sense, that doesn’t always seem right, that often times feels dark but we know you are the good shepherd leading us, guiding us. And so for that, today, we decide to be people of thanks. We love you, Jesus. In your name, we pray, Amen.