Church of the Good Shepherd

The Habit of Thankfulness

1.  Our Lives Should Be Marked by Thankfulness

Philippians 4:6 - do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Shaun 11:20 - do not be thankful about anything, but in everything by prayer and anxiety let your requests be made known to God.

2.  Story in Luke 17

A.  Setting - trip to Jerusalem

This is the 3rd mention of the trip to Jerusalem

- This is final trip to Jerusalem, getting ready for crucifixion

- other mentions:

Luke 17:11 - On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee

Luke 9:51 - When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. (ESV)

Luke 9:51 - When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. (the message)

There are 5 miracles on this trip:

"we do have five miracles during this journey period, this is the fourth miracle.  The first three involve one person, the last one involves two in Jericho when Jesus heals two blind men.  Luke focuses on one, Matthew fills us in on the other one." (McArthur)

B.  The Context - insiders pushed out / outsiders invited in

Flow of Ch 15-17

  • Ch 15 = Lost Coin / Lost Sheep / Lost Son
  • Ch 16:1-13 = Parable of Dishonest Manager
  • 16:14 - The Pharisees, who werelovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him
  • 16:19-31 = The Rich Man & Lazarus
  • 17 - temptation to Sin = putting other things in front of a desire for the Kingdom
  • 17:5-6 = Faith of a Mustard Seed
  • 17:7-10 = How to be a good servant
  • 17:20-37 = The Kingdom of God and the Destruction of Jerusalem

C.  The Miracle = The Expansion of The Kingdom of God

Leprosy is a horrible disease

Thanks to John McArthur for help on this. http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/42-220

It's a bacteria that attacks the skin & nerves - feeling is lost

  • Dr. Paul Brand is the modern world-renown expert on leprosy, gives us some wonderful insight in a modern up-to-date look. It's called Hansen's Disease, HD, it is cruel, not at all the way other diseases are.
  • The destruction follows solely because the warning system of pain is gone.
    • Basically people destroy their own bodies.
  • In villages of Africa and Asia, a person with HD has been known to reach directly into a charcoal fire to retrieve a dropped potato, nothing in his body tells him not to.
  • Patients at Brand's hospital in India would work all day gripping a shovel with a protruding nail or extinguish a burning wick with their bare hands or walk on splintered glass.
  • On one occasion he tried to open the door of a little storeroom but a rusty padlock would not yield. A patient, an undersized malnourished ten-year-old approached him smiling, "Let me try, Sahib Doctor," he offered and reached for the key. With a quick jerk of his hand, he turned the key in the rusty lock. Brand was dumbfounded. How could this weak youngster show more strength than him? His eyes caught a tell-tale clue. Was that a drop of blood on the floor? Upon examining the boy's fingers, Brand discovered the act of turning the key had gashed the finger open to the bone. Skin, fat and joint were all exposed yet the boy was completely unaware of it.
  • Stanley Stein went blind because of another quirk of HD. Each morning he would wash his face with a hot washcloth. But neither his hand nor his face was sensitive enough to temperature to warning him that he was using scalding water, gradually destroyed his eyes.

Leprosy was seen as a divine curse

Often given to people who were in rebellion

Miriam when she rebelled against Moses

Jesus is reversing divine judgment

Curse - in general of sickness - result of the Fall

Command to "show self to priest:"

The rationale for this instruction is found in Lev. 14:2-32.

This was to serve as a proof to them, i.e., the people (and probably the priests as well). As a result of Jesus' healing, the (former) leper is brought back into full participation and fellowship in the Jewish community according to the provisions of the Mosaic law

D.  The Key for Thanksgiving = Seeing God's Kingdom Advance

The successful are scandalized because the kingdom of God is increasing without their personal investment

The broken & marginalized are healed

The most marginalized of the bunch is singled out because he is both healed and gives praise to God (thanksgiving)

-          Praise for God / Thanksgiving is not based on financial or national success

-          It flows from the expansion of God's kingdom as seen in

o       the gift of Faith

o       Healing

o       Obedience (servant hood)

o       outsiders being brought in

These are manifestations of God's grace


They were all only obeying.  The Samaritan actually disobeyed.

Or did he.

Command: Show yourselves to the priests

What is a priest = a mediator between men & God

1 Timothy 2:5 - that there's one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us-Jesus,

Hebrews 8:1-6 - In essence, we have just such a high priest: authoritative right alongside God, conducting worship in the one true sanctuary built by God. The assigned task of a high priest is to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and it's no different with the priesthood of Jesus. If he were limited to earth, he wouldn't even be a priest. We wouldn't need him since there are plenty of priests who offer the gifts designated in the law. These priests provide only a hint of what goes on in the true sanctuary of heaven, which Moses caught a glimpse of as he was about to set up the tent-shrine. It was then that God said, "Be careful to do it exactly as you saw it on the Mountain." But Jesus' priestly work far surpasses what these other priests do, since he's working from a far better plan.

3.  How To Develop the Habit of Thankfulness

? How Do Parents Encourage Kids to be Thankful?

This applies to today:

  • This thanksgiving is the first for many when finances are tight or tightening
    • for many, that's been the story of their lives
  • The kingdom of God is not hamstringed by our financial lack, it increases in spite of us and in unexpected ways

First - Realize that Its not about you

The Five-Word Antidote to Grumbling: "It's not about you, stupid!"

An eminent and well-known English preacher was approached by a congregation member who complained about some aspect of church life. It may have been that he didn't feel welcomed, or that he was finding it hard to make friends and fit in; it could have been that he was finding the service dissatisfying or the preaching too long; it could have been that the music was not to his taste or that his family was not being catered for to his satisfaction. The details of the complaint have been lost in the telling and re-telling of the story.

The preacher listened to the complaint, paused, and then replied with five words that cut straight to the heart of not only the man's problem, but the problem with all grumbling and complaining in church. He simply said, "It's not about you, stupid!" and walked off.

- Perceived slights - it's not about you

Nicest Prayer I Have Heard In A Long Time...

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Second - Decide that Your Thankfulness Won't Be Locked up in the Prison of Prosperity

Notice the chapter ends with a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70

Lazarus & the Rich Man

Third - Allow Thankfulness To Be Found on the Road of Obedience

Aristotle once said that Joy cannot be an end in itself, it is only found as we pursue other, more noble ends.

C. S. Lewis agrees.

He devoted most of his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, to his mistakes.

  • You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope's object and we interrupt this by (so to speak) turning round to look at the hope itself. . . . The surest means of disarming an anger or a lust was to turn your attention from the girl or the insult and start examining the passion itself. The surest way of spoiling a pleasure was to start examining your satisfaction. . . .
  •  I perceived (and this was the wonder of wonders) that . . . I had been equally wrong in supposing that I desired Joy itself. Joy itself, considered simply as an event in my own mind, turned out to be of no value at all. All the value lay in that of which Joy was the desiring. And that object, quite clearly, was no state of my own mind or body at all. . . . I asked if Joy itself was what I wanted; and, labeling it "aesthetic experience," had pretended I could answer Yes. But that answer too had broken down. Inexorably Joy proclaimed, "You want-I myself am your want of-something other, outside, not you nor any state of you."

 The lepers are healed - not immediately - not at the priest - but on the way

  • This miracle story is just after parable of "unworthy servants"

Luke 17:7-10 - "Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat'? Wouldn't you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I've finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper'? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what's expected of him? It's the same with you. When you've done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.' "

  • They don't rest, but keep serving until the work is done.

Finally - End Every Day Identifying Evidence of Grace

Spotlight should be on God.

? Is it possible to put the light on someone else, and still be worshipping God?

- Yes, if we are shining the light to showcase God's work in that person's lift

- Manifestations of His grace.



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