The Benefit of Giving Thanks
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. Psalm 107:22 (KJV)
This verse describes thanksgiving as a sacrificial act. When a sacrifice is made, it means you are forfeiting something to someone else. Sacrificing takes the emphasis off of self and puts the emphasis on another. An act of sacrifice means self-denial for the benefit of somebody else.
When sacrifice is made to God, we are denying ourselves in order to give God what is due Him. In thanksgiving, we forego giving ourselves credit for the good things in our lives, and we give glory to the Lord instead. And when we do this, something powerful happens; we take our eyes off ourselves and we direct our attention to God. It means we are not focused on ourselves, our accomplishments, or even our problems. Our eyes are on the Lord, and we look at Him, His ability, His love, His power, and His goodness. When He is the Center of attention, our faith in Him is activated, and He can work on our behalf.
And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole. Luke 17:12-19 (KJV)
According to this scripture, all ten men were cleansed. In other words, the progress of the disease was stopped and they were no longer sick. They were no longer contagious and could re-enter society. However, only one man was made totally whole of the disease- the one who gave thanks. Upon seeing the man’s heartfelt gratitude, he was not only healed, but Jesus actually made him whole. This meant that the disease was no longer active in his body and he could re-enter society like the other nine, PLUS he received his body restored to complete wholeness. So, he not only got rid of the leprosy, but he received the restoration of any part of his body that had been ravaged and maimed by the disease. It was as if the leprosy had never happened to him- every evidence of the disease was wiped away. And it was all because he gratefully acknowledged Jesus as the source of his healing.
You see, thankless people are self-focused people. When we fail to be thankful, our eyes turn to ourselves. We think about what we don’t have and what we want, and we are consumed with our circumstances. Or, we may find ourselves in a good situation and believe that we accomplished it ourselves, or that we were somehow deserving of the good we got. Either way, if we do not give thanks to God, we are selfish and self-centered in our thinking.
Giving God thanks actually benefits us more than it does Him. It draws our attention away from ourselves and places it on the only One Who is deserving of the gratitude, honor, and glory. Giving thanks to Him puts things in the proper perspective and allows God to bless us more.
In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18 (Amplified Bible, AMP)