The Importance of Slowing Down to Fill our Grateful Heart
Imagine this scene.
You've come down with a highly contagious illness. It's so contagious that you can't live with the regular population and are, instead, sent away from society until you are healthy, if you ever get well. This means you don't get to see your family, friends, home, none of it until you are well.
Can you imagine how lonely you would feel? Can you imagine how fiercely you'd miss your loved ones? And what if you never got well?
You hear that Jesus has just arrived. You hear of His reputation and work in healing people just like you. And you take a chance. You find Jesus and ask for your healing. He looks at you with compassion and gives you instructions, "show yourself to the priests."
Maybe this direction is a bit confusing. His instructions are to show the priests the change in your health, only you aren't immediately healed. You look at the physical parts of your illness and it hasn't changed. But, in faith, you turn to find a priest and prove your healing. As you turn, you find your body changing from one of sickness to one of complete and total health. What a miracle! And you've not only seen this amazing miracle, but you've BECOME a walking miracle too! A real testament to Jesus' power right before your own eyes (and the eyes of everyone around you)!
In this moment of complete wonder, astonishment, and even disbelief that something so good could be happening, do you stop and turn back to Jesus to thank Him? Or do you run off to the priests to gain your freedom to enter back into society and into your own home?
One such person chose to stop his journey to turn back to Jesus and thank Him. Nine of his friends took off to the priest.
We can all say that we would be the one to stop. I mean, our lives would have been incredibly impacted by Jesus' goodness, why not offer a simple thank-you, right? But I think most of us would find ourselves to be the other nine. Why do I think so? Because how often do we save our thank-you's for Jesus for those moments right before we eat our Thanksgiving dinner (and we're forced into giving one or two reasons we're thankful before we can eat)? What about all the other amazing miracles and blessings He gives us, that we take for granted?
Those other nine lepers were probably distracted by getting to the priests quickly and then heading home to see their family. In their excitement and distraction by task and the consequences of their amazing blessings, they easily forgot to thank Jesus for His miracle. We live in a society that is wrought with distraction. Our focus is pulled in a million different directions, all away from Jesus.
But notice the one leper who slowed down enough to notice his long-awaited miracle. He slowed down to a stop as he turned to head back to where he had come from to give Jesus his heart-felt thanks.
How often do you slow down?
Do you slow down often enough to notice when Jesus answers your prayers? Do you take the time to truly notice the details of your life, the miracles, and the blessings? Do you forget the responsibility of any given moment (and even the sheer joy) to turn back to Jesus and humbly offer a simple thank-you?
The only way we can fill a heart of gratitude is truly slow down and notice the details.
To notice the details, we can't be running. The nine lepers were focused on everything else but Jesus. They were focused on getting back to the priests (responsibility) and heading home (joy). Both responsibility and joy aren't wrong or bad, but in this instance, it distracted them from filling their heart with gratitude and then voicing that gratitude to the One who that made it all possible.
Don’t Forget to Grab Your Freebie!
Here are 3 ways you can build in slower moments to your day so that you can focus on the One responsible for your blessings:
When you wake up, offer Jesus thanks for the immediate blessings you can think of.
During your prayer time, consider your past prayers and look for how He has answered them. Thank Him for those answered prayers.
Before you go to bed, think on the day. Thank Him for each part of it.
Let's consciously choose to be the one leper who slowed down and turned back to Jesus. Let's consciously choose to slow down and notice the details of our life and thank Him for them!
Need some help finding things to be thankful for? Be sure to check out our Simply Being Thankful series!