“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” (Luke 17:15-16)
If you’re familiar with your Bible, you may have heard of the story where Jesus heals 10 lepers. Leprosy was an incurable disease. And back in Jesus’ day having a disease like that made one ceremonially unclean, and with no cure, that made you a social outcast, unable to worship Yahweh along with your community.
In Luke 17:11-19 a group of ten lepers cry out to Jesus to be healed. Jesus heals all ten of them, but only one, a foreigner, returns to thank Jesus for what He did. Jesus responds to him, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? […] Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:17-19).
Jesus generously gave healing to this man, and he responded in thanks. First characteristic of a generous heart is this: a generous heart beats with thanks to God.
Question: does your heart beat with thanksgiving for the spiritual restoration God has given to you and the work He has done in your life?
Are you like the one leper who experienced the grace of God and turned back in thanksgiving, or are you like the other nine? Do you catch yourself thinking about what you don’t have, creating an insatiable “want” or “desire” that most people in this life are infected with? Or do you try to remember what you do have, counting your blessings which leads to gratefulness?
A heart of generosity starts with an appreciation for who God is and what He has done. Unthankfulness cripples our generosity. If we can’t appreciate what God has done for us in our lives, we’re never going to think beyond ourselves to those whom God has placed around us.
But when we recognize that all we have comes from the Lord, things change. When we realize that everything we have we don’t really own, it’s merely on consignment from God, our attitude shifts. We begin to steward God’s resources that He’s entrusted to us for the good of other people and the advancement of His Kingdom.
When we have a generous heart like this, we can say with the psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26).