“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been been forgiven, that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little” Luke 7:47.
What is the catalyst for gratitude?
We learn much from about the cause for and response of gratitude from the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. This woman knew her reputation; sinner. She knew Jesus’ reputation; friend of sinners. What does one do when one becomes aware of extravagant love and acceptance is offered to them? The truth of having been known, forgiven, and accepted welled up in her heart and humbled her to express her gratitude in what may be the greatest demonstration of ‘undone’ adoration in the gospel stories.
Klyne Snodgrass, in Stories With Intents, says this about the parable Jesus told to legitimize the woman’s public expression of her private gratitude,
Like many parables, this one ends with a question requiring that the hearer pass judgment. The answer to the question is so obvious that it is almost pedantic, but when Simon gives the answer he sets himself to be ‘wounded from behind.’ Once the answer is granted, the relevance of the conclusion cannot be evaded. Obviously the person forgiven the greater debt (or at least aware of the greater size of the debt forgiven) should love more–or possibly be more grateful in return. J. Jeremias argued that no word for ‘thank’ or ‘thankfulness’ existed in the Aramaic, and therefore the Greek word for love (agapan) was used in the sense of ‘gratitude’ or ‘grateful love.’ However, Hebrew yadah and related words were used to express thanksgiving, and there is an advantage in retaining the focus of love. Furthermore, does not love, at least human love, contain gratitude, even if often proleptic?” (Snodgrass, p. 88)
Love is grateful. It understands the beauty of the gift when one shares oneself with another. It treasures it. Love understands how precious and fragile…and rare…it is for someone to recognize worth and value outside of actions, be they good or bad. Love sees…and the one who has been seen cannot help but be thankful.
How do you express your gratitude to those who see you and love you? Who are they?
I’m thankful to Jesus. He saw me and I can personally treasure that He is a friend of sinners.
I’m thankful for my husband. He loves me on good days and bad.
I’m thankful for my children–they are my heart’s delight.
I’m thankful for my family: My parents, who I adore. My sisters. My nieces and nephews (Happy Veteran’s Day, Spencer. Thanks for serving us all!).
I’m thankful for my friends: For the many smiles, hugs, laughs, and tears they share with me.
If we say we love, then gratitude–sincere, extravagant, outrageous–will be its overflow! Love is the catalyst for thanksgiving.
You? Who needs to know that your love for them is born out of gratitude for their being in your life?