It was our first day of small group, meeting together again at last. It felt good to be sitting in a circle with this group of old friends. We were asked to share one thing we appreciated about the person seated to the right and left of us. One thing…that turned into two, three, four things! Trying to be brief while you are telling someone you love and care for. . . impossible! The longer we shared, the more sincere and extravagant the praise became.

Going around that circle, I pondered what had just happened. It was sweet to hear how appreciated I was, but the best part was the way I felt after expressing my appreciation for another. Then came that inner nudge. When was the last time you said those things to Me? Do you feel like this when expressing your gratitude to Me?  (Thank You Lord for tender reminders.)

In Psalm 107:8, the psalmist cries out, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men.”

When you think about it, we have plenty to be grateful to God for, don’t we? You may be thinking there is plenty to complain about, too! As I write this, Greg is sick with covid and we’re both in quarantine.

In Daniel Defoe’s classic novel Robinson Crusoe, there’s a section that always makes me pause to think about what we truly need -vs- what we think we need.

Marooned and alone on this island, Robinson Crusoe—who all his life has taken much for granted—has come to see things with clarity. He begins to think differently and puts down his thoughts into two separate categories. In one column, he lists his gripes and in the other, his gratitude.

He begins: “I have no clothes to wear” . . . but then again, “This weather is so warm, I don’t really need much clothing anyway.”

“I’ve no way to protect myself”—but the fact is, “I see no wild beasts I need protection from.”

“I am shipwrecked and all alone”—but then again, “I alone was spared and even able to salvage from the ship all necessary tools and supplies to last as long as I live!”

At every distressing point, he begins to see with a right perspective that he can also see God’s tender mercies.

What about us?

My teen is messy and too lazy to clean her room—ah, but my daughter is safely home, not a runaway on the streets.

Cleaning up after company is so much work and no one is helping—ah, but what a lovely time with my friends!

Look around right now and you may find 100 reasons to cry, or you can turn it around and find 10,000 reasons to give God praise.  

I can’t answer your questions why—I can’t even answer my own. But I do know that Christ also asked His Father why. But before that, He gave thanks for the cup He was about to drink.


There is such a thing in scripture, as offering a sacrifice of praise. I can, I should, and I will praise Him, even when I don’t understand.

David preaches to himself about this very thing in Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me…and forget not all His benefits” (emphasis added).

“…who forgives all your iniquity”—haven’t you been forgiven?

“…who heals all your diseases”—has He not preserved you thus far?

“…who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies”—and loved you?

Ten thousand reasons and more to bless the Lord and be grateful, yet how rarely do we give thanks?

There were ten men, lepers who cried out to Jesus, “Master! Have mercy on us!” But only one returned to thank Him (Luke 17:11-17). We are quick to pray and ask God for things. But then we move on with our lives.

“Where are the other nine?”

Jesus’ question pierces the complacency of my heart.

Lest we think Christ is so needy and anxious for our gratitude, listen to what else He says. “Go your way. Your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19).

Were the nine who showed no gratitude, made well? In one sense, yes. But for this tenth man—a leper, a Samaritan, an outsider—healing became much more than simply being disease-free. His gratitude, motivated by faith in Jesus made him truly well, body and soul.

We sing and read and talk about gratitude. But do we truly practice it? In our hurry to get on with life, we miss the joy of expressing our gratitude to Jesus in the way this once leprous Samaritan did.

What will you be intentionally grateful for today? List the reasons! They are there.

Today, here is my list.

  1. Hugs from my grandchildren
  2. That first cup of strong, black coffee in the morning.
  3. A stack of neatly folded clean laundry.
  4. The way a foggy morning reveals jeweled spider webs.
  5. Listening to the sound of wind in the giant sycamore trees.
  6. A down-filled pillow.
  7. Long walks on the beach.
  8. The gentle hiss coming from my Instant Pot on the counter.
  9. Freshly ironed sheets.