In the book of Luke, chapter 17, Luke the physician writes the account of Jesus healing 10 lepers.

Leprosy is a disease that strikes terror in hearts and minds.  From the Old Testament to New Testament to modern day, leprosy is feared.

Leprosy does not kill, it just erodes a body away. It begins on the surface of the skin and eats inward to the bones.  It disfigures.  It deforms.

In Biblical times, a person with leprosy was banned from the community, shunned.  They lived alone, isolated from family and friends.  They could no longer pursue their livelihoods and provide for their loved ones. Because the disease is contagious, all precautions had to be taken to protect the healthy.

A leper could be easily identified.  Their clothes were torn…a sign of deep grief, their heads uncovered.  They were to keep their distance and warn of their presence by covering their mouths and crying out, “Unclean!  Unclean!”  

Today I’m not writing about the nightmare of leprosy or the doctrine of divine healing.

I’m writing about the simple act of saying….”Thank you”.

ONLY ONE leper, of the 10 that were healed, returned to Jesus shouting praises.  He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, and gratefully said  “thank you”.

One would think, given the crippling mutilating nature of the disease, and the emotional death of being an outcast, that the other 9 would have also fallen at Jesus’ feet in joyful gratitude.

Their rotting festering skin became new…pink… healed. Their minds cleared….the shame of being loathed lifted.  They could now be reunited with their families and friends, return to their trades, be useful and productive. They could walk through their villages unnoticed, quietly going about their day.

What happened?  Did they obtain what they cried out for and walk away without so much as a glance back at Jesus?

In our lives today…what happens?  

Are we generous in our tip giving to the college student who is our server in the restaurant?  A practical way to say “thank you”.

Do we say thank you when someone opens a door for us?  Do we open doors for others?

Do we ask, “how are you?” to the cashier in the local box store.  She’s the single mom, standing on concrete floors for 8 hrs, so she can provide for her children. Do we tell her “thank you” as she hands us our receipt?

Most importantly, do we say thank you to those in our own homes?  Children helping with chores…a spouse that pitches in to get the kids to bed.  A simple “thank you” can shield against the build up of resentment, and loved ones feeling unappreciated.

Are we aware of the power an attitude of thankfulness can infuse into our lives?  Being thankful and giving voice to our gratitude will protect our thoughts and our emotions.  Just being mindful of the simplest of graces will plant seeds of hope in our hearts. 

For example…thankful for the taste and aromas of food….even having food to eat….warm sunshine on our face…birds singing…blooming flowers….a butterfly in flight…the smile of a stranger….a hug from a child….the pureness of fresh fallen snow…the smell of spring rain…

Start today by telling someone you are thankful for them…grateful for their presence in your life…share a smile…a hug…write a note of thanks…leave an extra generous tip for that college student…compliment the cashier…

For me, Ann Voskamp, is the modern day herald for the art of being thankful.
Her bestseller, one thousand gifts, chronicles her own journey of gratefulness in the midst of life’s pain and trials.  If you read only one book this year….may it be this one.  It has the seeds to change your life.
You can find her blog here….

I am thankful for you….giving your time to read the words of my heart.

May you be encouraged….may you discover the sweet choice of giving thanks.