Jesus was disappointed that the nine Jews failed to return with the Samaritan. He said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:17-19).
And so the giver received the beneficiary’s thanksgiving with gratitude. Consequently, the Samaritan’s appreciation accrued appreciated value when Jesus uttered that his “faith has saved” him (literally) or “made him well.”
In other words, regardless of our cultural heritages, a genuine life of gratitude is cultivated when we realize, first, that we’ve only earned all we have become because of other people’s involvement. We are not entitled to their kindness, and consequently, we are indebted to our Maker and those who have shared in our lives. Gratitude best manifests itself in communion and cooperation, not in competition. Or as the Apostle Paul put it, what do we have that we did not receive?
Dan Darko is an associate professor of biblical studies at Gordon College. He and his family live in South Hamilton.