More Gratitude And Less Grumbling

Bible Book: Luke  17 : 11-19
Subject: Gratitude; Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for. In spite of this, it’s easy to get wrapped up in becoming a grumbler over a person of gratitude!

Thankfulness seems to be a lost art today. Warren Wiersbe illustrated this problem in his commentary on Colossians. He told about a ministerial student in Evanston, Illinois, who was part of a life-saving squad. In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him. Our Daily Bread, February 20, 1994.

The Bible teaches that gratitude is the obedient response of those whose ruined lives have been restored by the Master.

Why should every child of God be known for having a grateful attitude over a grumbling attitude?

In Luke 17:11-19, we find three biblical reasons for unrestrained gratitude in the life of the child of God. An attitude of gratitude grows in the life of the believer as he understands more of what God has done for him in the Lord Jesus Christ!

I. The Condition of the Men

A. Diseased

“…there met Him ten lepers.”

Leprosy in Biblical times was a terrible thing. Once a person caught it, it was considered incurable, and those diagnosed with leprosy were banned from society.

Leviticus 13:45-46 states, "The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ’Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”

Think of how embarrassing that must have been to be a leper:

1. Disgusted with self
2. Perhaps angry at God
3. Consumed with your disease
4. No hope of healing

In October of 2008, our family attended a fall festival with Amy’s parents. There were at least a couple of thousand people on the grounds celebrating the fall and enjoying fun times, good food, singing, preaching, etc. Of all the people there, one lady stood out in the crowd. She probably had the disease known as “Elephants Disease.” Her face was disfigured greatly and honestly, it was a bit painful to look at her. What really got to me was this lady was wearing a shirt that said, “I love Jesus!” and she never stopped smiling!

How many of us would have had that kind of attitude of gratitude? Or would we be grumbling and groaning? We gripe when our air goes out, but what about those who have no home? We gripe about our common colds, but what about those dying with cancer? We get upset when the kids mess up the house, what about those who would love to have children yet are unable? We grumble if the sermon goes five minutes over, what about those who have never heard the precious and powerful name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

“You can’t expect to be a lucky dog if you spend all your time growling.” Pentz, Zingers. How are you doing today in the shape you are already in? Grateful or grumbling?

B. Disconnected

Notice these lepers, “stood afar off.” Lepers would often travel in groups together. Unable to be normal member of society, they would team up together – the unclean and the untouchables. Because lepers are outsiders, they would be totally dependent on people inside the village to share some basic necessities of life with them and to be merciful to them.

Ken Gire, “There he lives. Without love. Without hope. Without the simple joys & dignities of life: being smiled at - being greeted on the street - buying fresh fruit in the market - talking politics by the public fountain - laughing…getting to go to work - operating a business - aggling over prices with a shopkeeper - getting a wedding invitation…singing hymns in the synagogue, celebrating Passover with family. All these barred to him. Forever!”

In this day and age of computers and technology, it’s relatively easy to be “connected” with others.



Cell phones


Yet with all of these technological advances, the one thing the young people of our generation craves is genuine, caring, committed relationships. Aren’t you thankful for loving friendships? Have you thanked family and friends for embracing you? Who are you going to connect with over the holidays?

C. Doomed

There was no real way for these lepers to be healed…they were without hope, without strength, without a future. They could have denied their real condition and just put their mind on other things, avoiding their real need and issues. Instead, when Jesus comes their way, they cry out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” They understand that without the touch of Jesus upon their lives they are doomed to die and are in desperate need of his mercy and grace!

This would be Jesus’ last trip through Galilee! a. He was on His way to Jerusalem to take our sins on the cross of Calvary! Literally, this was their last opportunity to receive life from the Lord Jesus!

Do you know what is going to keep many folks out of a real relationship with the Lord Jesus – is that they foolishly believe, they have all the time in the world to get right with God. They do not understand that spiritually they are just as doomed to a hopeless future as these 10 lepers were! The greatest need in life is not money, wealth, or fame, but a personal relationship with Jesus - going from spiritual disease, disconnection, doom, into a life-transforming relationship with God. Has that happened to you? It can!

One of my roommates in college was the starting WR for LA Tech. Before he came to know Jesus, he lived with an attitude of, “I don’t need anything. I can handle anyone or anything life throws at me.” Through a series of events in his life, God opened his eyes to his ultimate need of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Dean Jackson said his life changed forever with these four words, “Jesus, I need You!”

II. The Comission of the Master

A. Duty Initiated

Lev. 14:1-7 and Luke 17:14, “Go, show yourselves to the priest.”

According to Jewish law, only the priests could announce that one was healed of leprosy, clean, and able to enter into society once more. These lepers had to go in faith on what Jesus had said. At first, there is no outside indication they are healed – they do not look, feel any different than before.

However, there is the hope that, in Jesus, they have simply been healed through the power of His word.

Now, in obedience to the law of God, they would go to the priest who was authorized to pronounce the once unclean - now clean! In other words, God not only wanted them to “believe” but also “behave.”

Biblical faith is not something you simply, “believe,” but something you also must “do.”

James 2.17, “Thus also faith by itself, it if does not have works, is dead.” Some folks “profess” faith, but never really “possess” biblical faith. They want the name of Christ-follower, but in reality do nothing to prove they are daily following Jesus as Lord…if we “talk the talk,” we must learn to “walk the walk.”

A pastor friend of mine had a man in his congregation who was in church leadership prior to his coming. This man would not attend services faithfully, did not believe in tithing, or giving to missions. My friend asked him why he was not serving the Lord through the church in a more faithful manner. “Someone else will make up for my slackness,” was the man’s reply.

B. Depravity Illustrated

We read in Luke 17:14-15, “And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them…” “One of them?”

Just imagine with me that as they are walking to the temple to tell the priest, suddenly, they begin to see changes in each other. Skin once rough is now smooth as a baby. Deformed body parts are now whole. Truly, this was the best day of their lives! All ten lepers Jesus cleansed, but only one of returns - this is depravity illustrated!

Bill, a young man was the fortunate heir of vast amounts of money and material things from his family. His wealthy grandfather passed away and left his grandson with $5 million. His mother won the lottery just a few weeks later and deposited $500,000 in his bank account. Bill’s sister married an extremely wealthy man. For Bill’s birthday, they purchased a brand new $75,000 dollar Lexus for the young man. A week later, Bill and his best friend were eating lunch. The friend noticed a very depressed, downcast countenance on Bill’s face. “What’s wrong,” he asked, I’ve never seen anyone go through such a series of incredible fortunes like you.” Bill responded, “Yes, but no one has given me anything this week.”

III. The Comprehension of the Miracle

A. Dedication of the Leper

Luke 17:15-16, “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.”

Probably this leper wanted to go and show everyone what had just happened in his life! Yet, he takes time to return to the One who alone has made Him whole! The fact that Dr. Luke points out that the one who did return was a Samaritan is significant! Samaritans were hated severely by the Jews. To the Jews, Samaritans were the outcasts, rejects of the land and had no place in God’s kingdom. (Unwanted, unloved, undesirable)

How thankful are you that God’s grace is available for All people? (Muslims? Murderers? Miserable?)

Do you truly understand more and more of what undeserved grace God has freely poured out into your life…and how are you thanking Him for it?

One man listed reasons for gratitude in his life:

i. A gracious God

ii. A loving wife

iii. A healthy family

iv. Abundant life

(Eternally and materially I am filthy rich compared to the rest of the world.)

v. A meaningful vocation

vi. Friends

vii. Today

Opportunities to grow in grace, knowledge, and experience and the list goes on and on and on...”

B. Declaration of the Lord

The Lord Jesus said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”

Certainly, all ten should have been down on their knees before the feet of Jesus, praising God, giving Him glory for the incredible miracle He had done in their lives!

They had to be happy, full of gratitude for this new life they’d received! They are eager to return to life in community! They can’t wait to see family and friends! They desire to be a person of value in society once more!

Yet at their heart, they did not give God the glory He was so due! They are so caught up in this gift, they failed to recognize the Giver of those gifts!

An attorney, who after meditating on several scriptures, decided to cancel the debts of all his clients that had owed him money for more than six months. He drafted a letter explaining his decision and its biblical basis and sent seventeen debt-canceling letters via certified mail. One by one, the letters began to return, unsigned and undelivered. Sixteen of the seventeen letters came back to him because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes, fearing that this attorney was suing them for their debts. How profound! We owe a debt for our sin and God is willing to cancel it but too many people will not even open the letter that explains that. Rick McCauley

Jesus said, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

While it is great to have experienced the physical healing, Jesus made sure this man understood not only was he physically healed, but of much more importance, spiritually healed!

It may seem the physical is much more necessary now, but think of eternity! If Jesus has saved you spiritually, you have a Far Greater Miracle in your life than a physical healing! For all eternity you’ll be praising Him for it and your time on earth is simply preparation! If people will not glorify God now… why would they want to glorify and honor Him for all eternity?

Do you comprehend the miracle Jesus brought to you at salvation? Do you comprehend that is the most important thing that could ever happen in your short stay on this earth? Are you truly known for your grateful heart to God or are you more of a grumbler? Grateful hearts are ones that are fixed on Jesus. Grumbling hearts have forgotten the goodness and grace of God in their lives!

Romans 1:21, “…although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

A spirit of ingratitude is the first step toward apostasy. —K. Ammon

How appropriate for Thanksgiving to turn into “Thanks-living” for the follower of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 13:15, “…by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”


George Frideric Handel had reached the bottom. His right side was paralyzed. He was broke. His creditors threatened him with prison. He was so discouraged that he contemplated suicide. Instead he chose to praise God – to focus on God’s goodness rather than on his own desperate circumstances. Out of that experience came one of the greatest works of praise ever written – Handel’s Messiah and the “Hallelujah Chorus!” (Wright and Woods, The Ministry Marathon)

A grateful (not grumbling) life defines the child of God. Have you returned to the feet of Jesus to thank Him for what He’s done in your life? Colossians 2:6-7, “You received Christ Jesus as Lord. So keep on living in him. Have your roots in him. Build yourselves up in him. Grow strong in what you believe, just as you were taught. Be more thankful than ever before.” (NIRV)