How do we feel when we have helped people and they don’t bother to show thanks? Have we met people who are thankful under the most difficult circumstances? What’s their secret? Let’s learn the importance of giving thanks in all circumstances. Let’s look at Jeremiah 29:1-7 and Luke 17:11-19.
Jeremiah 29:11 is not a direct promise to us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” It’s not about changing circumstances, but God’s blessing in bad circumstances.
Jeremiah 29:4-10 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” … 10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.”
Moderns often doubt biblical history, but archaeology repeatedly proves it. Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem is corroborated in the Babylonian Chronicles. Hundreds of Babylonian cuneiform tablets detail trade, taxes, debits and credits for exiled Jews. Tablets even include details about one exiled Jewish family over four generations, with their Hebrew names.
Jeremiah wrote a letter to Jews who had been deported to Babylon, advising them that their time of captivity will be more than a generation. They must cope, make homes, marry, have children and raise them. They would need to multiply greatly or the Jews could possibly cease to exist.
How do lifers in prison survive? How do the terminally ill live? How do people living in constant disaster, war, poverty, or stateless refugees live without losing hope? Hope for these Jews was found in in the lives of their children and grandchildren, in a future they would never see.
Can we be thankful in difficult circumstances. Even though we may not see God’s hand for many years, we are never alone. God has not abandoned us. Even though terrible things may happen, we can find comfort in knowing we are the beloved children of a God who loves us.
Luke 17:11-16 11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
We were helping survivors of a local natural disaster. One elderly lady sought out the aid-givers to thank every single person. We worked hard, provided accommodation, gave thousands of dollars in financial aid and most turned their backs on us without a word of thanks. One amazing lady stood out.
Luke 17:17-19 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
Eternal salvation is pictured in the Bible as eternal healing. In the story of the thankful Samaritan, ten were healed but only one was thankful. Are we completely healed without thankfulness? Is our faith complete without thanksgiving? Could it be that complete wellness includes body, mind and spirit?
Let’s learn to be thankful in all circumstances, in good times and bad. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).