Few things are more stressful than the holidays. With all the prep work, gift buying and flight delays, it’s no wonder we end up feeling overwhelmed and irritable.
Often, we end up finding unhealthy outlets to find relief. Even well-intentioned actions can often manifest themselves in the ugliest of ways.
We have all heard horror stories of Black Friday shopping experiences. A few years ago, when people actually had to wait in line to get into a store, crowds would trample each other trying to get their hands on a TV.
We spend so much time and energy trying to fill a void with stuff that we forget to be thankful for what we have. Many of us my even think we feel thankful for what we have but in reality, we are only grateful.
What’s the difference, you may ask? Action!
In the New Testament gospel of Luke, chapter 17, we find the story of Jesus healing 10 people with leprosy, a debilitating skin disease that rots your skin.
By law, you were forced to leave your family, friends and job, and live only with others who had a similar skin disease. They were quarantined together. Talk about stress!
These lepers begged Jesus for healing, hoping for some shred of compassion from the one whom they thought could give it.
“They stood at a distance and raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he told them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And while they were going, they were cleansed. But one of them, seeing that he was healed, returned and, with a loud voice, gave glory to God. He fell facedown at his feet, thanking him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Didn’t any return to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And he told him, ‘Get up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’” Luke 17:12-19
Why did only one person return? What was it that made this man pause, turn around and give praise? Weren’t they all grateful? Of course they were grateful; all 10 just experienced a life-altering miracle. Their lives were about to change forever.
So how can we be thankful? Be specific, be honest, and make it public.
The Samaritan made it very clear what Jesus had done for him by throwing himself at Jesus’ feet. Now, I’m not saying you have to thank everyone you see by frantically throwing yourself at their feet, but … take the time to put some action into your thankfulness.
What if you went into your workplace Monday morning and you weren’t just grateful for the people you worked with, but you showed them, either publicly or privately, how thankful you truly were for them?
In our busy world, we need to pause and turn our grateful into thankful. Only then will our faith be made known to all.
Lyle Parker is the pastor of Community Christian Church in New Palestine. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.