Many are familiar with the story of the ten lepers recorded in Luke 17. How the Savior met ten men with a disease that ruined both their bodies and their ability to function in society. The Savior invited these men to show themselves to the priests, something forbidden by the Law of Moses since they were “unclean”. The men were healed “as they went” because they acted in faith, a great principle for another post.
This story, however, continues when one of the men turns back after the miracle. We are impressed by the man who was just given his life back, and instead of jumping right back into that new life returns first to recognize the One who gave it. Because of this act of gratitude, the Savior explains that this man isn’t just physically healed, but is now “whole”.
What is less known is the obscure parable recorded just before this experience. Luke tells us that the Savior commands His disciples to forgive those who offend, even if it happens multiple times in a day. The disciples recognize this to be a difficult standard, so in verse 5 they plead, “increase our faith!”
What follows is a less than straight forward parable:
7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
In Bible times, a master and a servant have an agreement. The master supplies all the necessities of life, as the servant faithfully attends to the agreed upon duty. The master doesn’t need to give special thanks because they are both doing what was agreed upon beforehand.
So what does this have to do with increasing faith? It seems the Savior has two subtle messages on this: do your duty, and recognize that you are always in debt to the Master. These things increase faith. But why?
Faith is trust. So, first off, doing your duty allows access to the promises which increases trust in the Master for keeping those promises (again, a post for another time).
But this only happens if we take time to realize the source of our blessings. Otherwise, we become like the nine lepers whose healing was only skin deep. We only get the initial blessing. Only the one who recognized enough to return was made whole. Or, we can say, his faith was increased to completion.
The Lord lets us in on His Divine Nature by expressing what gets Him the most upset.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
So I guess you can choose your reason for being grateful. I’ve got mine, but it sure takes a lot of effort.