‘Where Are the Other Nine?’
THE contrast between persons showing appreciation and those neglecting to do so was well illustrated in the Bible account of the ten lepers healed by Jesus Christ. The lepers, prohibited by the Law from coming close to anyone, called out to Jesus as he was entering a certain village. Their plea was that he have mercy on them. Jesus saw that they were leprous and told them: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And what happened? The inspired record adds:
“Then as they were going off their cleansing occurred. One of them, when he saw he was healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. And he fell upon his face at Jesus’ feet, thanking him; furthermore, he was a Samaritan. In reply Jesus said: ‘The ten were cleansed, were they not? Where, then, are the other nine? Were none found that turned back to give glory to God but this man of another nation?’”—Luke 17:11-19.
‘How sad!’ you may exclaim. ‘All ten were cured but only one expressed his appreciation.’ Surely, we should all take to heart the lesson implied by Jesus’ comment and the question ‘Where are the other nine?’ Yes, and this incident should move us to show appreciation.
Showing Appreciation to Family Members
There are many opportunities for expressing appreciation to others, including friends and family members. This is true even in small things: for an unexpected gift, for a visit from a friend, for a delicious meal, or for having our clothes washed and ironed.
Children, you can show appreciation to your parents. How? By doing chores promptly and without grumbling, by keeping your room clean and your clothes neat. You can show gratitude for the education you are receiving by applying yourself well both in class and when doing homework. In one country it is estimated that it costs up to $54,000 (US) to raise a child to the age of eighteen. When was the last time you expressed gratitude to your parents for all they have done in your behalf?
Parents, do you show appreciation for things done by your children? True, they may not have done something as well as you could do it. But a word of appreciation for their effort will make them happy. And it will encourage your children to do even better in the future.
Husbands, do you recall the saying ‘a woman’s work is never done’? Well, then, do you commend your wife so that her housework does not become drudgery? The Bible says of a “capable wife”: “Her sons have risen up and proceeded to pronounce her happy; her owner rises up, and he praises her. There are many daughters that have shown capableness, but you—you have ascended above them all.” (Proverbs 31:10, 28, 29) A husband can show appreciation for his wife in many ways, as by an evening out together or by a loving gesture.
Wives also have many opportunities to show appreciation. To provide the necessities of life, a husband usually has to work with persons of varying temperaments and habits, and this can be very depressing. So, on returning home, how heartwarming it is for him to receive a loving welcome or a few words of appreciation from his wife for what he does for the family! Yes, and how grateful a man can be for a capable—and appreciative—wife! The Bible says: “Her value is far more than that of corals. In her the heart of her owner has put trust, and there is no gain lacking. She has rewarded him with good, and not bad, all the days of her life.”—Proverbs 31:10-12.
Aging parents also come into the picture. They have done much for us over the years. Children are an “inheritance from Jehovah,” but rearing them is a great responsibility. (Psalm 127:3) In fact, doing so might be called a twenty-year training program. Yet many do not show gratitude to their parents for all those years of service and self-sacrifice. Too often, elderly parents are shunted off to a home for the aged. Of course, in some cases professional attention in such places may be essential. But regardless of how well trained strangers are, their care alone for the elderly is never the same as their being with their own family. So, when necessary and possible, what a fine way to show appreciation for our aging parents is our inviting them to live with us! The apostle Paul put it this way: “Remember that if a widow has children or grandchildren it is primarily their duty to show the genuineness of their religion in their own homes by repaying their parents for what has been done for them, and God readily accepts such service.” (1 Timothy 5:3, 4, Phillips) Naturally, aging parents and grandparents should be cooperative and should show appreciation for what is done in their behalf.
Outside the Family
When family members show us their gratitude for something we have said or done, how this warms our heart! Similarly, it is heartwarming to those outside our family when we express our appreciation for them and for what they do or say. The occasions for doing this are so numerous that there really is no way to cite them all.
Perhaps you have recently begun to increase your understanding of the Bible through personal study and association with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Is it not spiritually rewarding to gain knowledge of God’s Word? Surely you appreciate that. And what about the Christian associates you now have? The Scriptures say that Jehovah God would “rock all the nations” and that the “desirable things” of all nations would come into his house of worship. Evidently these “desirable things” are people who are streaming to ‘the mountain of Jehovah’s house,’ and are now worshiping him “with spirit and truth.” (Isaiah 2:2-4; Haggai 2:7; John 4:23, 24) They are loving, honest, upright and wholly devoted to God and his righteous principles. And just think! In a world marked by such traits as lovelessness, dishonesty and unthankfulness, you are privileged to have fine godly associates. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Is their association not something for which to be deeply appreciative? Surely it is.
On the other hand, perhaps we have been pursuing a Christian way of life for years. If so, think about those who have been our faithful fellow Christians for some time. Certainly it would be fitting to thank them for their many kindnesses in word and deed. Have we been guests in their home? Or, have we enjoyed a meal with them? Then, besides a verbal expression of thanks, might it not be appropriate to write a note or send a card expressing appreciation?
Doubtless, each one of us can find many ways to make ourselves and others happier by showing our sincere appreciation. So let us be like the one cured leper who had a truly appreciative spirit. May we not be ingrates, such as the other healed lepers concerning whom Jesus asked: ‘Where are the other nine?’
Clearly, we should show appreciation to fellow humans. But what about the One who made all things? (Revelation 4:11) What are some reasons to be grateful to him? And how can we show our appreciation to Jehovah God?