Helping Others Out of the Mess that I Know
Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men. Mark 1:17
It isn’t the life-work that I would have imagined for myself twenty years ago, but addiction is the ministry God has given me. I have no formal education in it, but for better and worse, I do have street credibility. When I walk into jail or a treatment center and tell of my own addiction and recovery, it gives me some authority to speak into the lives of those still in the struggle. I’ve known the misery of the mess. I’m far from perfect, but I’m living in recovery. Tell me about your mess.
Often, I’ve worried that following God meant I’d lose who I truly wanted to be. In my addiction, I learned that was a good and necessary thing. I didn’t lose who I was meant to be though. I didn’t lose my identity. Rather, I found it in following God, becoming who he wanted me to be. In abandoning my way, I found the real me.
This seems to be what God often does with those who come to him. He doesn’t turn us into cookie-cutter copies of each other. He uses who we are and where we’ve been for his purpose. In today’s passage, he met two fishermen – Simon and Andrew – calling them to be fishers of men. They followed and were transformed. Yes, their lives were radically different, but they didn’t lose themselves in the following. They became the version of themselves God planned them to be.
For those tired of their misery and mess, the call of Christ is the same. Come. Follow me out of the old life into the new one. You’ll only lose that which was killing you anyway. No, you’ll never be the same, but in me you will find yourself, along with life, joy, and hope for the future.
This is the life mission that God called Simon and Andrew to, and it’s the mission he’s given us. We don’t all need to be addicts to help someone else. We all have our own struggles which God can use. We do need to be following Christ out of the pit before we can help someone else out though. In following Christ, we can all use our own story to love those around us who have similar struggles. In doing so, we become the version of ourselves that we were meant to be.