“And Jesus answering said, were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17)
Jesus gave cleansing to 10 lepers who begged Him for mercy. He commands them to “Go shew yourselves unto the priests.” And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them noticed that he was cleansed and turned back to glorify God. He fell on his face and gave thanks. The necessary inference from Jesus’ response is that all 10 were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks. This also means that Jesus is saying that the other 9 were UNGRATEFUL.
While we can’t know what they were thinking, we can know from scriptures about other people who were UNGRATEFUL to God for the good things He has done. Let’s learn from these negative examples about how to be GRATEFUL to God.
10 Reasons why we’re sometimes UNGRATEFUL.
The blessings are Unconnected in our mind to Jesus. Sometimes we just don’t realize that everything good is from God. Consider Ephraim, “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.” (Hos 11:3; CF. 2:8; Is 1:3; Dan 5:18)
Perhaps some thought it was Not Enough or it was expected. It reminds me of what God said to David, “And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things” (2Sam 12:8).
Sometimes we give Glory to another. “And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians,” “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation” (Judges 10:11,14).
Sometimes there’s Resentment on the part of the recipient of God’s blessings. The elder brother had resentment toward his prodigal brother’s return and restoration. “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf” (Luke 15:29-30).
Some disregard any blessings from God because they believe they were Already improving anyway. It reminds me of Pharoah when a plague was lifted. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Exo 8:15).
There are some that would show gratitude, but are too busy, perhaps Tomorrow. “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me” (Hos 13:6; cf Deu 6:11).
Some people are just too proud or Egotistical to recognize God’s blessings. Consider the wealthy man in Luke twelve, 13-21; or the Pharisee & the tax collector, “I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess,” (Luke 18:9-14); or Israel toward God’s care for them (Jer 2:31).
Sometimes we Fail to know God’s word about the good things He’s done. “They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt” (Psalm 106:21). If we fail to know about Christ, we’ll fail to give thanks to Him for His indescribable gift.
Some of us are just Uncaring about God’s blessings. We take for granted things that come for free. “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).
Perhaps there are some that just don’t Love God like this sole Samaritan did. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16). It reminds me of the question Jesus posed to Simon about two debtors, “And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most” (Luke 7:36-50)?
We’re commanded to give thanks, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thess 5:18), but it begins with recognition of the Source from whom all blessings flow (James 1:17).
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ in Borger Texas.