I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a gift and meant to say thank you, whether in person, over the phone, or with a note, and completely forgotten. By not making a priority of letting them know their gift was appreciated, I am being ungrateful. This is a sin that can easily slip into habit without notice.
Look at the lepers who were healed by Jesus on His way past Samaria in Luke 17:11-19. Ten men received miraculous healing, yet only one returned to give thanks and praise to the One who healed him.
[The ten lepers said,] “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Your faith has made you well. I think the interesting thing here is that statement here is true of all ten men, not just the one who returned. They were each given a gift, yet only one was marked by true gratitude. I like to imagine that the other ten were indeed thankful, but they were so excited to be healed that they ran off to the priests to get a clean bill of health, ran home to hug their families, and carried on with their lives. It’s like the kid on Christmas morning who’s so excited about his gift that he tears into it and begins playing with it, but he’s so preoccupied with the gift that he forgets to show gratitude.
Jesus continues to show grace to the ungrateful, but the one who returns the praise back to Him has a richer understanding of the grace he received. This Thanksgiving I’m most grateful for the grace God has given me in every area of life, even (especially?) the areas where He’s growing me.