In his memoir Townie, novelist Andre Dubus III shared that his father, also a renowned writer, would write every single morning. After he finished, “He’d count how many words he’d gotten and record the number. After each total, whether it was fifteen hundred or fifty, he wrote ‘Thank you.’ ” This writer had learned the art of gratitude, and it shaped his work—allowing him to see and then write about rich experiences of hope, humanity, and grace.
Luke’s gospel suggests that gratitude is a necessary part of our ability to receive the deepest healing God desires to give. Recounting a story of ten lepers who “stood at a distance” and cried out for Jesus to help them, Luke tells us that Jesus told the ten to “go show [themselves] to the priests” (Luke 17:12,14). Miraculously, on their trek to the temple, “they were [all] cleansed” (Luke 17:14).
Though ten were cured, only one returned to say thanks (Luke 17:15). Luke takes care to make certain we understand that the only one who did return was a Samaritan (a religious outsider considered unworthy). In other words, this was the very last person we’d expect to come to Jesus. Yet there he was at Jesus’ feet, effusive with gratitude.
“Stand up and go,” Jesus said to the grateful man. “Your faith has healed you” (Luke 17:19). But wait—the man had already been physically healed, along with the other nine. Apparently there was a deeper healing the man received from Jesus, a healing of body and soul received by faith.
Jesus is kind to us all, but he won’t force anything on us. A posture of gratitude prompted by Him opens our heart and makes us willing to receive more of what God is so eager to give.