Like the well-known law of gravity, I believe there is a law of gratitude. But unlike the law of gravity, the law of gratitude is often forgotten.
My sophomore year in college I had a job delivering pizzas. One evening I had a delivery to the women’s dorm on the college campus. Thinking I’d save some time, I parked my car in an open parking space along the street outside the dorm. I put on the parking brake, and left my car idling while I ran the pizza to the dorm’s front desk.
When I returned to my car, a police car’s flashing lights let me and everyone else know I’d gotten a police officer’s attention. The officer stood in front of my car, writing a ticket.
In this case, I hadn’t forgotten the law. I didn’t know about it! To my surprise I learned it’s illegal to leave a car running unattended in a public area.
We’re held accountable for laws, especially if we forget them, and even when we don’t know them.
That’s true for civil laws, and even true for God’s laws.
Making it a bit of a challenge, not all God’s laws aren’t explicitly stated as laws in the Bible.
Take the law of gravity, for example. It’s not even mentioned. But there’s evidence of it.
Remember Eutychus? He learned a hard lesson about the law of gravity after he fell to his death from a third-story window (Acts 20:9). He’d fallen asleep while listening to the Paul teach about Jesus. Fortunately, the story didn’t end there. Paul rushed down to the street where Eutychus lay dead, wrapped his arms around him, and God gave him his life back.
The law of gratitude shows up a bit more plainly. It’s just not inscribed in granite like the 10 Commandments. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul wrote:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
It is God’s will for us to be grateful. I’d say that makes it as good as law.
God’s laws always come with blessings or benefits, and the law of gratitude is no exception. Three of the greatest benefits are illustrated in the story of Jesus’ encounter with 10 lepers.
Headed south through Palestine, Jesus had walked through Samaria and came to Galilee. The Bible doesn’t tell us if Jesus was traveling alone or with his disciples, but from the context of the story in Luke 17 we can assume they were with him.
The dusty road they traveled came to a village.
On entering a village, Jesus and his disciples might have normally been met by curious children. But here they were met by 10 lepers.
These 10 lepers were probably men. The disfiguring effects of their skin sores on their faces, hands and feet would have instilled fear in the other villagers. Their disease required them to keep a distance from people who were otherwise healthy.
So they stood at a distance from Jesus and his disciples and cried out:
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
It appears that Jesus responded immediately.
Luke writes in verse 14:
When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed,” (ESV).
The former lepers hurried off to show themselves to the priests, to be pronounced clean.
For those 9 men, the law of gratitude was forgotten, perhaps even unknown. They missed out on its benefits.
But one man paused long enough to notice what Jesus had done for him.
Where he once saw disfigured hands with stubbed fingers extending from the sleeves of his tunic, he saw new, soft, supple skin. His fingers were restored.
Where he once struggled to keep his balance while walking, for lack of feeling in what was left of his feet and toes, he felt a spring in his step.
He turned back to Jesus, and praising God with a loud voice, he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, and gave him thanks.
And Jesus said to him:
“Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19 ESV)
3 Benefits of Gratitude
Did you notice the 3 benefits of gratitude? Here they are:
1) Gratitude makes us happier.
The former leper was so happy, he ran back to Jesus praising God.
2) Gratitude makes us less self-centered.
Unlike the 9 other men who forgot to express gratitude, the man who did turned his focus from his self to Jesus.
3) Gratitude makes us well.
Just being healed doesn’t make one well. We can be healed and get sick again. Faith in the one who gives us healing, expressed through gratitude, does more than just heal us—it makes us well.
What benefits have you experienced by being grateful? Leave a comment below.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.