In the book of Psalm it says, “Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given” (Psalm 105:5 NLT). David wrote this compelling verse of scripture with a heart of profound thanksgiving. He knew that in order to truly be thankful toward God, he had to remember what God had done in the past to bless him in the current. As David thought about all the wondrous blessings given to him and his ancestors, he found his Lord’s faithfulness to be ever so true.
I recently had an encounter similar to David’s; however, it had a more contemporary effect. As I curiously scrolled through notes on my cell phone, I came upon some that dated back to last year. Among them were never-sent letters portraying my feelings as well as prayers expressing a form of desperation. Like David, I quickly realized the power and strength God had worked around me. While I kept in mind my current standing, I discovered the blessings given to me from God were not only a demonstration of his faithfulness, but also of his infinite love.
Perhaps the most inspiring “remember” story occurs in Luke 17. Jesus hadn’t been in town but maybe a few seconds. For many people, it would be enough time to give a friendly greeting. The two lepers, however, give a greeting many wouldn’t expect, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13 NLT). After ending their bold shout, Jesus said, “Go show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:14 NLT). In those days, lepers would show themselves to the priests when they believed they had been healed. Jesus worked his marvelous strength and healed each man, but the healed lepers had a decision to make. Like any human today, they had to decide how they would respond to such an amazing blessing. Would they return to thank Jesus for being healed? One did. The words of Luke say it like this, “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus shouting, ‘Praise God!’ He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16 NLT). What an amazing opportunity each one of these men had to praise God. Ironically, nine of them never did.
Why does it matter if we remember all God has done for us? In the leper story, Jesus responded to this question in a unique way. He said to the leper who returned, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18 NLT). Jesus was expectant. He expected those he so graciously blessed to return with a blessing to their healer. It wasn’t that Jesus selfishly wanted their attention. He didn’t do the extraordinary action for an applause, a gift, or a social promotion. According to verse 18, he simply wanted “glory to God”. It is simply an act of praise. A praise not to a selfish man but to a creative, loving God. After all, he is the one who has given us salvation. Giving praise to God is blessing in and of itself. Other than the act of unselfish praise, God speaks indirectly of another benefit of remembering, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you” (Luke 17:19 NLT). Deep into this verse there lies a lesson, a promise from God. The returning leper had the opportunity to hear the Lord say why and how he was healed. In addition, he had a taste of his future. Only those who return can know more, and what an honor it is to hear from God.
Today is only a speck of a greater picture. Thanksgiving is something God desires us to give every day. According to Psalm 50, thankfulness should be “your sacrifice to God” (Psalm 50:14 NLT). Begin to remember all the Lord has done, and don’t keep the thanksgiving within you. Let God know it by “singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders” (Psalm 26:7 NLT). What is it that reminds you of the Lord’s goodness?