The Thank You Note

“Louisa was a master of the thank-you note.”

I was a couple lines down the page when I stopped and went back to reread this sentence. I was reading Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen, a biography about the woman who wrote one of my favorite books.

I’ve known Alcott’s name since I was seven, as have millions of people since the late 19th century; and now that another movie has been based on her most famous work, even more people know her story if not her name.

But likely only the people who have read this biography know she was great at writing thank you notes -- and even many of them probably read this without it striking them as important.
It struck me. What an amazing reputation: to be known as someone who said thank you beautifully.

It reminded me of Luke 17:11-19, when Jesus heals ten lepers while on His way to Jerusalem. When they saw Him, they stood at a distance (which sounds very familiar in our age of social distancing) and asked Jesus to have mercy on them.

And Jesus healed them— giving them physical healing from the illness that was afflicting them. All of them, I’m sure, were overjoyed. They were likely anxious to see and hug their loved ones (a feeling we will all understand when we are able to do that again). They were hurrying to see the priests, which is what Jesus told them to do.

But one— only one— paused. He turned back, fell at Jesus’ feet, and thanked Him.

Then Jesus did something even more extraordinary— He gave to this grateful man spiritual healing. He said, “Your faith has saved you” (Luke 11:19).

All ten men received a miracle. But this even more powerful gift was given only to one, the one who said thank you.

The Bible is filled with gratitude:

“I will thank the Lord for his righteousness” (Psalm 7:17).
“I will thank the Lord with all my heart” (Psalm 9:1).
“Let us be thankful” (Hebrews 12:28).

May we be like the leper, like Louisa, like our Lord: may we be grateful.

By Bailey Vandiver

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