INGRATITUDE is one of the most common of humanity's faults. Even Christ seemed disappointed and surprised as He met it in His day.
Ten lepers with equal need received identical blessing in response to their common plea. The greatest desire of their lives was for healing from the dread disease that had necessitated their separation from society. Christ gave them what they hardly dared hope for, that which no other being on earth could give them—health. After years of hopeless isolation their thoughts turned instantly toward home and family as the fact of restored health dawned upon their dulled sensibilities. They hurried off to the priests, who declared them well and granted permission for them to return to their communities. Only one man sought out the Master to give Him thanks. Christ's amazed response was, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?"
Were Christ on earth today, He might well ask the same question of our entire generation. The ratio of nine to one, with 90 per cent of us forgetting or neglecting to give Him thanks, is probably about the same. Ingratitude is today one of our most common sins.
A soldier in the American Third Army was sent to a rest camp after a period of active service. When he returned to his outfit he wrote a letter of thanks to General George Patton. The general in his reply stated that for thirty-five years he had tried to give comfort and convenience to his men, but this was the first letter of thanks he had ever received! Parents must constantly say to their young children who have just received something, "Now what do you say?" Whether young or old, ingratitude seems always to be a problem. We are admonished by Paul in the Scriptures: "In every thing give thanks." We are to recognize God as the giver of "every good gift and every perfect gift." And truly if we will but look, there is always something we may be taking for granted for which we should be grateful to God.
What do you have to be thankful for right now? There is always something. Matthew Henry, the famous scholar, was once accosted by thieves and robbed of his money. In his diary he wrote these words: "Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed." Does that set you to thinking?
Or consider this: The parents of a young man who was killed in the war gave their church a check for $200 as a memorial to their loved one. When the presentation was made, another war mother whispered to her husband, "Let us give the same for our boy." The father replied, "What are you talking about? Our boy didn't lose his life." The mother answered, "That's just the point. Let's give it because he didn't."
Are you guilty of the sin of ingratitude? Does "where are the nine?" include you? Then at this Thanksgiving season do something about it. "Count your many blessings; See what God has done." And as your heart fills with gratitude for the abundant blessings of Heaven, look for a way to share those heavenly favors with others.
Chief among our blessings is Jesus Christ, who died that we might live and have hope. We can share Him by witnessing to others of His goodness. We can share Him by giving so that His gospel can be preached to all the world. We can never outgive Christ, for He gave His life—His all.