Giving Without Thanks
The Bible recounts a time when Jesus came into a certain village and ten lepers met him and begged to be made well again. Jesus gave them instructions on what to do. They did as He instructed and they were all made whole again. Then the story grows dark. Nine of the healed lepers rushed away cheering and jubilant but self-centered and said nothing about the healing. Only one returned to Jesus to thank Him for being healed and made whole again.
Jesus is quoted as saying "Were there not ten cleansed, where are the nine?" (Luke 17:17) It was a simple and fair question, typical of a lifetime of being used and then forgotten. The gracious nature of Jesus was that He did not take back the gift even there was no gratitude shown. How many others had gotten something from Him and then hurried off forgetting their benefactor? And how many benefactors have watched and said nothing as He was tried and crucified?
Jesus said, "As I have loved you, love one another". His unceasing giving of service, in spite of lack of appreciation, tells us something about the kind of love He means. Whenever we begin to hold back our acts of love and service to other people because we do not feel we have been properly thanked and appreciated, it may be time to question our motives. Do we do our deeds and acts to be noticed and admired by others or for self-aggrandizement? Thanks and praises from others may be sweet but if we start giving the gifts of ourselves merely to receive them in return, we have lost something much grander.
There is always a danger that our acts of service may become very calculated, our kindness stained with self-seeking. Worse than that, we may cease to quit giving altogether because we have not been thanked and appreciated properly. Having our concern for others on their notice and response of it makes our love as transient as a summer snow. It is the same insanity that affects those who stopped following the Lord's Commandments because they fail to see as immediate reward for it.
It is a fact that we will not always be thanked and appreciated for the loving things we do. This should never become a reason to cease giving and serving. Those who look at a world which seems almost devoid of God and still continue to pray to Him are those who have faith in Him. Those individuals who can give and serve to even one individual who turns and leaves without so much as a word of gratitude are those who have truly learned what love is all about.
"Were not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" Christ then continued to love and serve not in stingy amounts, waiting for reluctant "thank yous", but in overwhelming amounts to many who would never thank at all. For us to do the same is a pathway to a rich life.
Pastor Hans Lillejord