I opened my eyes on New Year’s Day to a quiet house. I crept down the stairs and slid into the office—hoping for time to read scripture, reflect, and pray—but no sooner than I sat with my hot cup of coffee I heard, knock, knock.
“Come in,” I said, as my daughter with her bed head of puffy curls walked through the cracked door.
“Kavin just kicked me,” she whined.
“Karis spit at me!,” my oldest shouted from the other room.
This is how I started my new year. Mediating bickering kids.
Just a few months ago, I would typically jump up in a rush of angered frustration and bicker back at the kids something like, “Can’t you two just get a long for 30 minutes so I can start my day off in my quiet time!?”
But instead, I breathed, said a silent pop-up prayer of God, help me, and calmly pulled them together to discuss the battle of the wills.
Because the Spirit has been teaching me through Luke 17 that I have so much to be praising God for—and yet sometimes I am no better than the nine lepers who were healed from a horrible disease, and just walked away without stopping to praise God and thank Jesus.
How has the start of
the new year been for you?
Probably just as smooth and interrupting as mine—in some kind of way. I think the story of the ten lepers from Luke 17 can help us start the year off in the best way.
READ THE STORY: Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Things to Ponder:
Was it only one man who begged Jesus for healing?
How were they healed?
Who returned to thank Jesus?
What did the one leper do?
What was Jesus’ response?
What should our response be for the ways we see God at work in our lives?
NOTE: The lepers yelled from a distance because those with skin diseases were ceremonially unclean and had to live on the outskirts as to not infect others. In other words, they were ostracized and isolated. They were told to show themselves to the priest so they could go through the necessary steps to be welcomed back into the community and to be able to participate in temple worship (Laws for worship and cleanliness found in Leviticus).
The Best Way to Begin a New Year
I sure did not like starting the new year navigating sibling bickering, but in light of the story of the ten lepers, it was fitting contrast—and made me all the more resolute to begin the new year with gratitude.
The best way to begin the new year is to stop our racing forward in whatever task, run to Jesus, fall at his feet, and thank Him—for all He did in our lives this past year.