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In Luke, chapter 17, we have record of Christ healing ten lepers, with only one returning to show his gratitude. Christ asked, “Where are the nine? ” Albert Barnes wrote, “What a striking illustration this is of human nature, and of the ingratitude of man! ” Matthew Henry adds, “This intimates that ingratitude is a very common sin.” Further, we read in Pulpit Commentary, “The Master appears especially moved by this display. He seems to see in the thanklessness of the nine, contrasted with the conduct of the one, the ingratitude of men as a whole, ‘as a prophetic type of what will also ever take place’ (Stier).”
The word “Thanksgiving” is used thirty times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, it is used twenty-one times as a “sacrifice of praise and worship of God, ” and in the New Testament it is used nine times as “grateful language to God as an act of worship.” Sir Moses Montetfiore, the Hebrew philanthropist, had as the motto of his family, “Think and Thank.” In the Anglo-Saxon language, thankfulness means, “thinkfulness.” Thinking of all God’s goodness draws forth gratitude.
Thomas Merton stated, “To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything.” One day a man was invited to eat dinner with an old Indian, a highly respected man in the community. As soon as they sat down at the table, the man began to eat, but the Indian paused, bowed his head and gave thanks to God for the food. Then, gazing at the guest intently, the old Indian said, “Do you know what a man reminds me of who sits down to the table and eats the food that God gives him without thanking God for it?” “No, ” said the man abruptly, as he continued to eat. “Well,” said the Indian, “the man who sits down to the table and eats the food that God gives him without thanking God for it, reminds me a good deal of the hog under a chestnut tree eating chestnuts, and doesn’t so much as look up to see where the chestnuts come from.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks.” Remember, “Gratitude is the highest form of repayment! ”
Dave Arnold, Pastor,
- He is able to SUCCOUR. Hebrews 2:18, “He is able to succour them that are tempted” (KJV). “Succour” means “to come to the aid of.” The N.E.B translates, “He is able to help those who are meeting their test now.” Paul stated that when we are tempted, “God will make a way of escape” (I Corinthians 10:13). “Escape” has the connotation of a narrow passage out of a treacherous canyon. Remember, “When you meet temptation, turn to the right.”
- He is able to SURPASS. Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” God promises in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This last phrase means, literally, “to give you what you long for.” Spurgeon preached, “He cannot lie, He never will revoke His word. Has He said, and shall He not do it? He has spontaneously made the promise, and He will divinely make it good. Upon every promise the blood of Jesus Christ has set its seal, making it ‘yea and amen’ forever.”
- He is able to SECURE. 2 Timothy 1:12, “He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” “Committed to Him” is an expression used for depositing something precious in a bank for safety. A. W. Pink assured, “Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.”
- He is able to SAVE. Hebrews 7:25, “He is able to save to the uttermost.” The word translated “uttermost” indicates that which is complete, perfect, and final. An alcoholic became miraculously born again. A former drinking buddy teased him, asking, “You don’t really believe Jesus turned that water into wine, do you?” Although barely acquainted with the Bible, he answered, “Well, I don’t know much about that, but I do know that at our house He changed beer into furniture!”
- He is able to SUPPORT. Jude 24, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling.” To the believers at Philadelphia, in Revelation 3:8, Christ stated, “You have kept My Word.” Then in verse 10, He promises, “I also will keep you.” Vance Havner commented, “There are two ‘keeps’ here. Because they kept the Word of His patience, He will keep them. They kept and are kept.”
- He is able to SUBDUE. Philippians 1:21, “He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” “Subdue” is a military word meaning “to put under rank.” James wrote, “Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord” James 5:7. “Coming” is used of the invasion of a country by an army and the visit of the king. Christ’s return will be the final invasion of earth by heaven to overthrow evil and establish righteousness. A layman wrote a letter to his preacher friend, and instead of signing it, “Yours truly,” or “Sincerely,” he just signed it, “Until.” We are waiting until His enemies are made His footstool (Psalms 110:1).
THE HONOR OF WANTING TO QUIT
By David Arnold
A young college student, in his freshman year, was struggling with a course in French. He was so discouraged that he wrote home to his parents expressing his temptation to drop out of school. His dad sent him a poster of a young man, around nineteen years of age, in his football uniform. He was sitting dejectedly at the far end of the bench, covered with mud, his hair disheveled, and his face buried in his hands. The caption reads, “I Quit.”
Elihu Root said, “Men do not fail; they give up trying.” Here are some thoughts about “The Honor Of Wanting To Quit, then some input on “How Not To Quit.”
First, the reasons for this title, “The Honor Of Wanting To Quit.”
1. Wanting to quit is a sign of success, because only successful people can quit.
2. The more you have to quit, the more you want to quit. Samuel Johnson declared, “Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.”
3. You can enjoy the luxury of wanting to quit if you know you’re not going to quit. Wanting to quit, and actually quitting are not the same.
4. Quitting is really changing. Sometimes we all need a change, but don’t quit on an unfinished task, calling it change.
Second, “How Not To Quit.”
1. Burn the bridges behind you. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “To reach the port of heaven we must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against – but we must sail, not drift or lie at anchor.”
2. Don’t expose yourself to what you do not want to be. Ten years from now you will be what you read, view, and listen to via the media, and the people you associate with. Albert Einstein warned, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
3. Don’t tell anyone you want to quit, when you want to quit (except for a close trusted friend, and, even then, be cautious).
4. Lock yourself in so you can’t quit. Have a fixed and determined spirit. Great people are just ordinary people who just don’t quit. Marylin vos Savant stated, “Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.”
Now, for the rest of the story. I began with the illustration about the poster showing a young football player, despondent and defeated, with the caption, “I Quit.” However, down on the bottom of the poster is a little picture of a black hill outside of Jerusalem, with a very crude cross, and next to it these words, “I didn’t!”
Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida