Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

From Pastor’s Desk; 21 November 2014

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905 – 1961), the late United Nations Secretary General and a Nobel Prize Laureate wrote, “For all that has been — thanks! For all that will be — yes!”

Because I am a first generation immigrant to USAmerica, for me Thanksgiving is the most important secular holiday. I think of Thanksgiving not only as a holiday (an opportunity to have a day off and to attend a party) but as a Holy Day (a day set aside to acknowledge God’s presence in the world around me and to turn my “eyes upon Jesus” [UMH 349]).

In the Gospel according to Luke, there is a story of Jesus healing ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). Ten lepers came to Jesus asking to be healed. These men were rejected by the society – Luke even tells us that when they approached Jesus, they had to stay some distance away from him. They had to do that because the Jewish law stipulated that lepers may not even come near healthy people; they were outcasts. Jesus reached out to them and healed them.

Gratitude is an important part of our relationship with God because God reaches out to us no matter what our state in life might be: strong or weak, good or sinful, God comes to us and offers us his love and an opportunity to live an abundant life. And the only response we can truly give in return is our thanks.

Ten were granted their request, but only one returned; Jesus noticed that. But while ten were cured of leprosy, only the one who came back to say “thank you” was truly healed. “Stand up and go,” Jesus tells him, “your faith has saved you.” The nine ungrateful ones may have had their bodies cured, but the thankful one found healing in body AND soul. His thankfulness did not only restore his health, it made him whole.

That is the most remarkable thing about gratitude. The more we give thanks for the blessings we receive, the more abundantly the blessings come. The more we return to God and thank him for his many gifts, the more the gifts come; like the grateful leper, we discover that as our gratitude increases, God’s generosity increases even more. Gratitude is one of the most important keys to unlocking the fullness of life.

As we are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving’2014, let us remember the story of the grateful leper in the gospel, and make his story our own. As we thank God for his many gifts, let us be prepared to demonstrate that we will put all the blessing that come our way (past, present and future) to honor Jesus and to further the Kingdom of Heaven.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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