I’m a believer in thank-you notes. And I blame my mother.

From the time I could hold a fat pencil in my little girl fingers, my mother demanded I scrawl out handwritten cards to every friend, family member or stranger who bequeathed me with some sort of gift. Didn’t matter the size or the value, or even the holiday. If a gift was given, a thank-you note was written.

As with the other tortures I promised I would never exact on my kids when I grew up, I now carry on the tradition. Internet and various software programs tempt me to cheat and send “easy” thank you cards with a click, but I prefer the extra effort of a handwritten note. I believe the effort to think through a gift idea for me or my child should be reciprocated with a little heartfelt, creative appreciation. My kids whine about the ritual, but I remind them that gratitude is a beautiful thing.

I don’t see a lot of gratitude circulating in our culture. There are pockets here and there, but I see entitlement strangling appreciation. While I bemoan this degradation in our culture, Luke 17 captures a picture of a similar scene, 2,00o years ago.

Ten leprous men caught wind that The Healer, Jesus, was coming to town. Desperate for wholeness, they caught up with him and begged for a merciful healing. Jesus responded immediately, giving them the gift they most wanted. One minute they were terminal outcasts waiting for death. The next minute, they were strapping young men running toward their future.

Luke 17:15 says, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.”

Like a handwritten thank you note, he went to the trouble of walking all the way back just offer his gratitude. But he was the only one. Whereas ten poured out a plea for mercy, only one poured out a wealth of thanks.

One out of ten. Not a good percentage. Jesus was surprised by it, and so am I. And though I may write a few thank you notes here and there, 9 out of 10 times I cheat gratitude.

What about you?

  • Day 309 (Monday): Luke 20-21, Matthew 23
  • Day 310: Mark 13
  • Day 311: Matthew 24
  • Day 312: Matthew 25
  • Day 313: Mark 14, Matthew 26
  • Day 314: John 13, Luke 22
  • Day 315: John 14-17