Many, many years ago a story is told of a good king in Spain known as Alfonso XIX who learned that the boys who served in his court were forgetting to pray before their meals. So, he decided to teach them a lesson. He gave a banquet and invited them to attend. Midway through the dinner a ragged beggar came in, sat down, and began eating ravenously. When he was finished, he went out without saying a word.
“That ungrateful wretch ought to be whipped,” shouted the boys. “He ate the king’s food and never showed gratitude.” Quietly the king rose to his feet, and silence fell over the group. “Daily you have taken the rich blessings of life from the hand of your Heavenly Father,” said the king. “You’ve enjoyed His sunshine, breathed His air, eaten His food He has provided, and you have not bothered to say ‘thank you’ for any of them. You are more ungrateful than that beggar.”
Often we like those boys, take for granted those blessings that God has provided.
In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. Out of the ten men who were healed only one man returned to thank Jesus. Jesus asked the man who return, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner” (Lk. 17:17, 18).
So many times, we often neglect to be thankful. Yet, thanksgiving is to be a natural attitude of our worship (1 Cor. 14:16-17) and is to characterize all of Christian life (Col. 2:7; 4:2). We are to give thanks daily and regularly.
As we read in the the New Testament the early Christians expressed thanks: for Christ’s ministry (Luke 17:16); for Christ’s delieverence from sin (Rom. 6:17-18; 7:25); for God’s indescribable gift of grace in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:57; Rom. 1:21) and for the faith of fellow Christians (Rom. 1:8).
All this comes from the God who loves us and has given so much to us; shouldn’t we be thankful always?
Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “Why is that there?” Alex Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think that they are wonderful, and begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.”
That is the basis of thankfulness – to remember that we got “here” with the help of God, and that He is the provider of every blessing we have.
This Thanksgiving season may we be reminded of all the Lord has done for us and may we not only thank Him now but every day that we have the breath of life.
Mark T. Tonkery
Camden Avenue church of Christ