An Attitude of Gratitude

My New Year’s resolution this year was to lose 20 pounds (the same 20 pounds that I needed to loose last year and the year before). While I'm nowhere near my heaviest (a hefty 205 pounds!), I keep creeping up enough where I can see there from here. So I decided to get serious. I joined Weight-Watchers. I started going to the gym 4-5 times a week. I started eating yogurt (Wal-Mart fat-free cherry is the best). I stopped eating fast food and refined sugar… Well OK, I cut way back on fast food and refined sugar. I've watched "The Biggest Loser" on TV a couple of times. And did I mention that I work out 4-5 times a week? And sure enough, I made my Weight-Watcher’s goal, weighing in last night at 161. I remember an old Ray Stevens song about losing weight where he “gave his testimony, went out to celebrate and ate a French-fried Shetland pony.” I didn’t do that, but I did have piece of cheesecake Sunday night at small group.

Here’s a news flash—most people in the world today have never given a thought to needing to lose weight. Oh, a lot of Americans do. Karen, our Weight-Watcher instructor, said last night that 2/3 of Americans are obese and 1/3 are “clinically” or “morbidly obese.” It has become a (ahem) huge problem. But guess what? Most people in the world are more worried about getting ENOUGH to eat, not with eating too much! I keep a big box of Kashi bars in my office just in case I get hungry. (I used to just drive down to Hardees for a biscuit when that happened!) Many people in the world don’t worry about “what if I get hungry” because they know that they will be hungry! We have so much for which to be thankful. Are we? Or do we just so expect our blessings that we aren’t really all that thankful? Do we even stop to realize how blessed we really are?

In our reading today from Luke 17, ten lepers shout to Jesus from a distance (just as lepers were supposed to do), “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" (Lk 17:12). Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest; they were healed of their leprosy on the way. One of the men didn’t go to the priest but retuned to Jesus—“He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him” (Lk 17:16). This one man, (Luke tells us he was a Samaritan) was so overwhelmed with gratitude that he could not go on with his normal life until he expressed his gratitude and praise to Jesus. Jesus makes note of that fact, “Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Lk 17:17-18). When your life has been so greatly transformed by God, the proper response is gratitude and worship.

Do we just take our blessing for granted? Do we just expect that we will have enough food to eat, a roof over our head and clothes to wear? Don’t we realize that there are so many people who can’t take those things for granted because they often go without them? Should we not be so incredibly grateful for the good things that God gives us that we express our attitude of gratitude to Him in continual praise? Should we not show our praise by sharing what we have with the people around us and around the world that aren’t as blessed as we are?

Excuse me while I have a Kashi bar.