Talking Point – January 2022

Keith with his Mum

Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

WHEN I was a child, I remember my Mum teaching me the importance of saying thank you and showing gratitude to others who help you. Reflecting on this recently, my thoughts turned to Psalm 68 verse 20, “Our God is a God who saves, from the Sovereign Lord comes escapes from death.” There have been three incidents in my life where I experienced escapes from death: firstly, following a fall on holiday when I had to be airlifted to hospital, secondly, following a leg operation when I picked up a life-threatening infection and, thirdly, going through open heart surgery because of a torn mitral valve. I am very grateful to God who, on each occasion, intervened to help me through and grant me ‘escapes from death’. I have learnt from these events that every day is a gift from God (James 1 verse 17), and I am very grateful to Him for each day and every breath.

Luke 17 verses 11-19 records when Jesus healed the ten lepers whilst He was on his way to Jerusalem. As He entered a village in the border country between Galilee and Samaria, He was met by the lepers who called out to him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” The appearance of lepers at that time repulsed most people, and they would avoid them at all costs. Not Jesus, He engaged with them, had mercy on them, and instructed them to go and show themselves to the priests. The account tells us that, “They went, and while still on their way, became clean.” (Verse 14).

I would have loved to have witnessed this miracle! No treatment or medicine, just the presence of Jesus and His power resulting in complete healing. I would have loved to see the reaction of each of them when they were healed and to have witnessed the interaction of Jesus and the one who returned to say thank you.

The returning leper caught the attention of Jesus (verses 15-18), as did the absence of the other nine. The headline here is that God notices the grateful heart. Gratitude lifts our eyes from the things we lack so that we might see the blessings we possess. This has been my experience during these difficult times of the National Pandemic, and I am very grateful that God has been with me, helping me throughout the whole experience. Gratitude changes our perspective; it is a child of grace and an appropriate response for all who know the blessings of God in their lives.

Let me encourage you at the beginning of this year to make a list of all the things you can thank God for, assemble your reasons for gratitude and thank God for His kindness to you; “Always be joyful. Pray continually and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5 verses 16-18).

by Keith Saynor, Pastor, Grace Church, Caversham