Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed with life? Like there’s more to-do’s than can-do’s? When people ask how you’re doing, you answer with words like, busy, full, and “I’m doing.” You’re doing two people’s jobs for one person’s pay. You rush home to feed your family then get one child to karate and the other to soccer. Not to mention the never-ending list of DIY projects at home. Maybe you feel overwhelmed by your marriage. You have barely enough energy to be civil, much less loving, supportive, and romantic. Or maybe it’s the dread you feel every time you find another bill you can’t pay. We all feel overwhelmed at times.
In Luke 17, we’re introduced to ten men who certainly felt overwhelmed. They had leprosy. Their bodies were overtaken with infectious disease. As a result, they were also cut off from their families, communities, and their place of worship. Physical touch wasn’t an option. They were left with almost no way to meet their basic human needs. As overwhelming as their situation was, they had one thing going for them. They were in the best place they could be: they found themselves where Jesus was! It is impossible to live life right when you are in the wrong place. For example, a healthy, romantic marriage is nearly impossible if you spend all your free time out with friends or in front of screens. Instead, you need to get to the best location, somewhere present with your spouse, then start going where you need to go!
Okay, back to Luke 17. One day, as Jesus passed by, the lepers cried out for help, just as we’ve all cried out for help when we feel overwhelmed. “Jesus, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and sent them to show themselves to the priest. The Bible tells us that they were healed on the way to the priest! All ten men were cleansed of their disease. Interesting thing though, as miraculous as that is—it’s not the focus of the story. The focus is on one man’s response. In Luke 17:15-16 NLT, it says,
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
One of the men with leprosy returned to Jesus, his healer. Sadly, he was the only one to return to Jesus. Jesus wondered, “Where are the other nine? Were they not healed?”
Why did the one man return? The Bible says, “He saw that he was healed.” But didn’t they all see that they were healed? Certainly. Yet, only one man recognized that Jesus healed him! He chose the best perspective. And we get to choose our perspective, too. When I spend time in God’s Word, in His presence, and in prayer, I begin to know God and change my perspective. Like the thankful leper, I can see His work and healing in my life, too. What we see determines who we will be. Why? Because our perspective determines our priorities.
The one man with leprosy returned because he saw that Jesus healed him and therefore, thanking Jesus became his first priority. What about you? What are your priorities? In Joshua 24:14-15, Joshua, the leader of God’s chosen people, stood before the Israelites and pleaded with them to choose the best priority. “Choose whom you will serve,” he implored. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” What would it look like for you and your household to serve God? Maybe you’re single. You still have a household. Think about it. What does your house hold? How can you serve God with it?
What does this have to do with feeling less overwhelmed? As I begin to have the courage to say yes to the most important things, I will have the clarity and focus say no to what’s unimportant.
Honestly, sometimes I feel overwhelmed. When I choose the best place, choose the best perspective, and choose the best priorities, I actually become even more overwhelmed. But it’s different. Instead of being overwhelmed by a lack of time, money, self-control, or relationships, I am overwhelmed by God’s peace and presence. I’m overwhelmed by who God is, by what He’s done, and by what He’s promised to do! And when that happens, I’m glad to feel overwhelmed.