On Thanks Giving: One Of A Kind
- By Dr. Chris Gnanakan
- Published 11/25/2009
Dr. Chris Gnanakan
Revd. Dr. Chris Gnanakan, DMin, PhD. is the Director of Training for Outreach To Asia Nationals. OTAN serves in over nine countries in Asia where traditional missions is ‘restricted’, by equipping and empowering national, pastoral leaders to fulfil the great commission.
Chris, a native of Bangalore, worked as an electrician in MICO factory for 3 years before theological studies at the Word of Life Bible Institute and School of Youth Mission (New York). He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee Temple University and went on to do a Master’s in Divinity at Temple Baptist Seminary that he completed at the Asia Graduate School of Theology.
Chris was a youth pastor and ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church. In 1990 he founded Banaswadi Bible Church where he was the pastor-teacher for over 10 years. He is known as a Youth, Bible & Mission conference speaker and for his radio broadcast with FEBA (Transforming Truth) and TWR (Thru the Bible). His passion is for evangelism, whole-life discipleship, mentoring, training leaders & empowering the Church in Mission.
Chris lectures on and produces curriculum for ‘Biblical Mandate for Evangelism’ at the Haggai Institute for Leadership Development (since 1999 at Maui & Singapore). As an evangelical, he has served as a consultant with the Commission on World Mission & Evangelism on-site London, Switzerland, Athens, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Chile and with Urban Missions in Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines and China.
During his stay and PhD research in the UK, Chris was a Teaching Assistance at the University of Leeds in the department of Theology & Religious Studies and also served as a minister at the South Parade Baptist Church, where he developed outreach & care cells. Chris teaches ‘Clinical Pastoral Education’ at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital. He is chairman for the Christian Forum for Child Development & Samaritan Purse’s regional Prescription for Hope program
Since 1995, Chris joined SAIACS as Professor and HoD of Pastoral Theology & Counseling and Dean of Chapel. Here, for 13 years, he trained leaders for ministry and mission in India’s globalising context and is passionate doing ”Evangelism through Local Churches”. He is now appointed to serve as the Director of Training for OTAN (Outreach To Asia Nationals) from June 2009.
Chris is happily married to Dorothy, an IT software educator, and they have two daughters Alethea and Charis. Chris enjoys memorising poems on the Bible and football.
First, in this section (Ch.16-19) which is chiefly teachings on God’s Kingdom, this healing event is inserted.
Second, Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem to suffer ‘rejection’ sets the stage for the lepers, but rather than the healing itself, Luke’s stress is on the response of praiseful thanks from one ‘Samaritan’ leper. He was one of a kind. His worshipful act reveals what lies at the heart of the gospel and demonstrates an essential aspect of the kind of faith(fulness) that ought to characterises the “saved” - thankfulness!
The one leper’s expression of gratitude serves as evidence and is a picture of salvation, that Jesus affirms, only to him (v.19). By his efforts he recognises that God was at work in Jesus and personally appropriates that amazing grace. Though socio-culturally and religiously rejected by the Jews as an ‘outsider’, he breaks away from the rest in order to return to Jesus. He throws himself at Jesus’ feet and boldly testifies. He understood something of the spiritual isolation that sin brings and is thankful for the wonderful fellowship that wholeness through Christ had brought him into.
Jesus’ three questions (v.17-18) teach us the importance of thanksgiving as a grace, divine and human. God’s grace should never be taken for granted. It’s saving power extends beyond any human boundary and is offered to all. Often, sad but true, those whom society think deserve God’s judgment the most, are found most thankful for his mercy and grace in time of need.
Our Lord expects thanks from recipients of God’s loving forgiveness and healing power. Why is it that Christians tend to forget, ‘we are what we are’ by the grace of God, turn grace into disgrace and are often ashamed to share the gospel? Let us continually be challenged toward thanks-living. I invite you to join me in a short prayer that has changed my life with an attitude of gratitude. It simply says: “Lord, You have given me so many things, give me one more thing, give me a Thankful Heart !” Amen.
Dr. Chris Gnanakan