Series: With Grateful Hearts
Sermon: Made for Gratitude
Scripture Readings: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Luke 17:11-19
And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:14b-19)
Monday November 12 — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians ends with a series of exhortations. Throughout his letters, he uses similar language to urge new Christians to faithful life. He calls on them to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. (See Philippians 4:4-9 for another example.) We should remember that first century life was not always easy, especially for followers of Jesus. But they discovered that their relationship with God could be filled with both gratitude and joy, even in most difficult of circumstances. As far as you are able, “give thanks in all circumstances” this week.
• Prayer: Eternal God, help me be able to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances this week. Help me remember that gratitude is one of the keys to a meaningful life. Amen.
Tuesday November 13 — Luke 17:11-19
Luke’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers has meaning on a variety of levels. It demonstrates Jesus’ love for people on the margins of society. Lepers were outcasts—literally cast out of their communities—and one of them was a Samaritan, a “foreigner” according to Jesus’ own words. But most importantly, this story describes the life-changing power of God’s saving grace, which was received by the one leper when he gave thanks for the gift of healing. Have you thanked God for the gift of salvation that God gives you through Jesus?
• Prayer: God of Saving Grace, thank you for healing the brokenness of my heart and forgiving my sin. Thank you for making me whole. Thank you for saving me. Amen.
Wednesday November 14 —Luke 22:14-19
Giving thanks was an integral aspect of Jesus’ life and ministry. We can imagine the human emotions Jesus experienced at the last meal with his disciples, yet he took bread, gave thanks to God, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples. Following Jesus’ example, in churches around the world, we still take bread, give thanks to God, break the bread and share it, as Jesus’ disciples. Read John 11:41-44 and note that in his prayer for Lazarus, Jesus first thanked his heavenly Father. The point is: if Jesus practiced gratitude, so can we. When and where will you be thanking God today?
• Prayer: Merciful God, forgive me for not acknowledging the many ways you have blessed my life. Forgive me for not practicing gratitude each and every day. Amen.
Thursday November 15 — Luke 8:4-8, 11-15
In his parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus’ describes the fruit-bearing nature of God’s kingdom. The sower (God) sows the seed so that it will bear fruit! Jesus also describes the need for the seed to be cultivated in good soil. Many of our lives are more like the seed that fell among the thorns, “choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14). Gratitude is one of the spiritual disciplines that cultivates the soil of our lives so that God’s word can bear fruit in and through us. How does your practice of gratitude this week help you be receptive to God’s word?
• Prayer: Loving God, I find myself in Jesus’ parable every day. Sometimes I am like the path. Sometimes I am a nest of thorns. Let your Word find good soil in me today. Amen.
Friday November 16 — 1 Timothy 6:6-10
One of the primary concerns of the New Testament’s Letters to Timothy is that the pursuit of godliness can be derailed by our love for money and our insatiable desire for more and more. If we desire the kind of contentment we find in the New Testament, we will continue to practice gratitude. We will recognize the blessings we have received. We will acknowledge that they are a freely given gift from God. And we will be thankful. Every day. For what are you most thankful today?
• Prayer: God of Abundance, I know that I am blessed in ways that I do not deserve. Yet I always want more and more. Forgive me. Grant me the gift of contentment today. Amen.
Saturday November 17 — Psalm 92:1-4
The 92nd Psalm has a heading in most translations that says that it is, “A Song for the Sabbath Day” (NRSV). It calls God’s people to worship the Lord with praise and thanksgiving. It is an invitation for the community to gather and praise God together. It reminds us that worship is first and foremost a declaration of God’s goodness (praise) and an expression of gratitude (thanksgiving) for all that God has done, is doing, and promises to do in our lives. Count your blessings today. Prepare your heart and mind to worship God tomorrow.
• Prayer: Almighty God, prepare my heart and mind to worship you in praise and thanksgiving. Help me focus my attention on you and you alone. Amen.