From Lk 17:11-19 we learn some important things about giving the Lord thanks. When the ten lepers were healed and only the Samaritan turned back to give him thanks, we see that thanks is more rare than it is common. In v.17 only one of the ten thanked him. Thanks is often given from those who consider themselves to be the most undeserving, v.16. The Samaritan, who was a stranger, thanked him; his brethren, the Jews, just continued on their way. Giving him thanks should be common among us, his children, and we should be like this Samaritan.
Here are some lessons to glean from the text.
Praying to him draws you to him; giving him thanks draws you closer to him. In v.12 the lepers met him and stood afar off. Then in v.14, they went. Prayer is like this. We approach the Lord with our request and then go on from there when he answers. But notice the Samaritan. In v.15, he turned back. In v.16, he fell down on his face at Jesus’s feet. Look how close he was when he thanked the Lord.
Praying to him is often loud and earnest; giving him thanks should be just as loud and earnest. In v.13, they lifted up their voices. In v.15, the Samaritan thanked him with a loud voice.
Praying to him magnifies the problem; giving him thanks glorifies the Lord. In v.13 they called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”. In v.15, the Samaritan glorified God and, in v. 18, returned to give glory to God. When they called out to Jesus, everyone that heard them suddenly realized that there were lepers in the company who were seeking Jesus to be healed. They drew attention to their problem. Prayer does this. When the Samaritan gave thanks, he glorified God, recognizing that Jesus had done something that only God could do. He drew attention to God and away from himself.
Praying to him assures an answer; giving him thanks enhances the answer. In v.14, the lepers were cleansed. However, in v. 19, the Lord said to the Samaritan, “thy faith hath made thee whole”. The nine lepers got what they asked for, cleansing from the leprosy. The one leper was made whole. That is, not only was he cleansed, but his body was completely restored.
Give him thanks.