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Lessons From Animals--"Gratefulness"

"Was no one found to return and give praise to God…?"
Luke 17:18a


I did something recently that was a big step of faith for me: I started letting my cats outside…unsupervised.

I haven't always been such a "strict dad". When we lived in Montana, my apartment was on the edge of town…and it was a little town! I could safely let Sneezy and Squawker roam to their hearts' content. In the summers, I would leave a window open, so they could come and go at their leisure. You can imagine their frustration, then, when we moved to the new house in Washington--and suddenly they were no longer allowed outside. You see, I live on a fairly busy street. But it's not the amount of traffic that worries me; it's the reckless speed at which these drivers fly by. My cats, who have never really learned to watch for oncoming vehicles, wouldn't stand a chance. So for the past two years, they've been indoor cats--to their great chagrin.Sneezy (in younger days!)

Until just recently, that is. I took a deep breath, opened the door, and let them go back outside. For Sneezy and Squawker, it was the day of which they've been pining for two years. Freedom! To be outside again! Roaming! And wouldn't you know it--they took off in separate directions, so I couldn't follow both of them! I went back inside, leaving the door open…hoping they wouldn't forget where home was.

And that's when an incredible thing happened. Some minutes later, Sneezy returned to the house. He was obviously excited about his adventure; his hair was poofed out, and he was meowing incessantly. I scratched his head, and walked back outside with him. After a few minutes of watching him explore the front yard, I went back in…only to have Sneezy come after me, still meowing incessantly, until I walked back out with him. I then realized what it was he wanted--he wanted to be outside, but he wanted me to be out there with him. He had come back to share this great experience with me!

When Jesus gives us a great gift, how often do we remember to return and thank Him--to return and share with Him, ask Him to join us in celebrating the gift? Look at something that happened in Jesus' ministry. This comes from Luke 17:11 - 19--


Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When He saw them, He said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him--and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then He said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."


Jesus gives a great gift to ten men--He heals them of their leprosy. And yet, of those ten, only one returns to give thanks! What gives? Were the other nine ungrateful? My guess is probably not--in fact, it would not surprise me to learn that they were too busy celebrating to come back! But that's the point--for whatever reason, nine of the men who received a wonderful gift failed to come back and thank Jesus.

Have you received wonderful gifts from Jesus? Have you remembered to say "Thank you"? Have you invited Jesus to join the celebration? He's standing at the door, waiting to be invited in! Revelation 3:20--"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me."


In Christ,


--Pastor Dan


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