Read: Luke 17:11-19
As a young boy I spent much time in the forests behind our home in central Virginia. I hunted and fished with my father and generally enjoyed all aspects of nature. A lot of time was spent watching game—white-tailed deer, wild turkey, cottontail rabbit, red and gray squirrel, possum, and waterfowl. One thing I often looked for in my forest treks were tracks which gave evidence of wildlife. Our aim today is to point out a few evidences that indicate whether you or I have a thankful heart. We do not plan to exhaust the evidences but give just a few.
The first evidence of a thankful heart is a joyful heart. After the Old Testament character Hannah conceived a baby after being barren for so many years she said this: “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” Hannah was very thankful for this child and this bubbled over into a joyful song.
Another evidence of a thankful heart is a sense of indebtedness that affects our relationships with God and people around us. Let me illustrate. A young girl was being sold at an auction block. A gentleman walking by observed the sale and quickly bought the girl at an outrageous price. He then promptly filled out the necessary paperwork and gave it to her, setting her free. He informed her that he had not bought her to enslave her, but to give her the freedom she had perhaps only dreamed about. Stunned, the young girl responded, “You bought me to set me free?” At that she fell to her knees weeping and vowed to serve the gentleman for life. Her thankfulness brought forth words that expressed a feeling of deep indebtedness.
The same is true with all humanity in relation to the incarnation and atonement. You and I were once bound in slavery to sin. The Lord Jesus paid the price to set us free, when He shed His blood at Calvary. That’s what the Bible calls redemption. Ephesians 1:7 says “In Christ Jesus, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” In response to what Jesus did, a truly thankful heart will respond with lifelong and dedicated service to the Redeemer.
A positive outlook is another evidence of a thankful heart. Philippians 2:14-15 says this: “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Some personalities are definitely more melancholy than others but a person who is born again by the Spirit of God is going to be different. The Scripture says that “old things are passed away and behold, all things are become new” and that of course includes our outlook on life.
A thankful heart is a contented heart. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” A quote I recently read says, “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” So, a thankful heart is joyful, indebted, positive, and contented. These are a few evidences of a thankful heart.
~Harold R Troyer