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Luke 10:20

Posted 11/24/21, by Dan Vis

Sometimes it seems, we need to get our gratitude filters adjusted. That is, we need a bit of tweaking in what things we are most grateful about. That certainly was the case for some of the first followers of Jesus.

In Luke 10, for example, Jesus gave detailed instructions to the 70 about how to do ministry (instructions worth reviewing now and then), and then sent them into all the various cities He was planning to visit. So by the time He finally got there, there would be crowds ready and waiting.

When they returned from their mission, "the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through they name". Clearly they were thrilled about the experiences they had had. They were thankful.

But then Jesus adjusted their gratitude dial just a bit:

Luke 10:20
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

It's a lesson worth keeping in mind today, isn't it? It's great when we see ministry success, and it's easy to be excited when we see God use us in some way. And I don't think Jesus was saying there is anything wrong with this kind of gratitude.

But He wanted to make sure that the core of their gratitude was rooted in the right place. That the thing which thrilled their heart most, was their salvation. That their names were written in heaven. If you're going to be thankful for something, be thankful for this!

Think about it for a moment. If our gratitude is linked to ministry success, what happens should something change, and your ministry experiences some setback? When it stop seeing success? What happens to your gratitude then?

The fact is, you can't really control how other people respond. And God is never going to force anyone's will. But He is going to give everyone the best chance possible. Which means God may use you to give someone He knows will reject salvation, that chance to hear His offer. In other words, some efforts may not yield great results.

Going even deeper, what is the real reason we are thankful for ministry success? Is it because it makes us feel good about ourselves? That it somehow commends us to God? That it affirms our walk with God somehow? In some ways, gratitude, when rooted in the wrong place, may not really be all that healthy of a thing.

What should prompt thankfulness about ministry is that is advances the kingdom of God. Our salvation is so precious to us, we can't help but want to share it with others. And see others experience His love too. Our gratitude toward God is so great, whether someone ever notices what we do or not, is irrelevant. We simply rejoice that our names are in heaven.

What things in your Christian experience are you most thankful for? And more importantly, perhaps, why are you thankful for them? If it can't be traced back and rooted into the glorious fact of your salvation, we may need to dig a little deeper.

We may need a slight adjustment on our gratitude dial too...

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Posted by Dan Vis on 11/26/21
You are very welcome Michael! It's an important point I think. :) I think I feel a sermon coming on too...
Posted by Michael Huffman on 11/25/21
Love this. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/25/21
Sixto, preach it bro! :)
Posted by Sixto Ramos Jr on 11/24/21
I never thought about Luke 10:20Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. that way.
When I read that verse I see Jesus protecting them from there heads getting to big. Reminding them its about Him and not them. Great thought. I hear a sermon coming on!!!

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