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Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.

During this month, we will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Due to the pandemic, our gatherings may be limited and quite different.

To many people, Thanksgiving can be summarized by three words: family, food and football. I have many fond memories of celebrating Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ and parents’ homes. As our children have grown and we’ve had grandkids, we now have parents, in-laws, children and grandchildren at our house.

I still recall as a child at my grandparents’ small house how all the family would gather around the table and pray, filling up on an abundance of delicious food. After enjoying the meal and conversation, we would slowly move to the living room, to watch the football game, where we would all fall asleep through most of the game. I am thankful for these memories of Thanksgiving.

Thankfulness is foundational to the Christian life. Thankfulness is a conscious response that comes from looking beyond our blessings to their source. As Christians, we have been forgiven, declared righteous, saved from death, and adopted as a child of God. There could be no better reason for a thankful heart.

In Luke 17:11-19, we have the account of the healing of the 10 lepers. Verses 15 and 16 say, “And one of them when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan.”

Lepers in Jesus’ day were social outcasts. Their highly contagious disease ostracized them from those they loved. For them, there was no family, food or football. When these 10 lepers encountered Jesus, they desperately begged Him to show them mercy.

Jesus sent them to the priest and as they obeyed, they were healed. These 10 men had been forbidden to enter their own villages, to live in their own homes, to work at their own jobs, or even to touch their own children. Imagine what unrestrained joy filled them as they ran back home again.

One of the lepers, a Samaritan, stopped and ran back to thank Jesus. Samaritans were normally shunned by the Jews, but Jesus had healed him. Jesus asked him, “Where are the others?” Ten lepers had been healed and were reveling in their newfound health. Ten men were joyfully rushing to share the good news with those they loved. But only one considered the source of that blessing and stopped to thank and worship the One who had given him back his life.

We, too, have been healed and made whole by the Savior. We are free to enjoy the abundant life that Jesus has graciously given us. May we, like the nine lepers, not rush off so quickly to glory in our blessings without first stopping to thank our Redeemer. God looks for and is pleased with our thankfulness.

Our worship, prayers, service and daily life should be saturated with thanksgiving to God. Ephesians 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So, before the family, food and football, give thanks for the blessings from God and let your thanksgiving become thanks living.

Hobbie McCreary is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Johnson City.

Hobbie McCreary is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Johnson City.

Hobbie McCreary is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Johnson City.