Selling Faith and Recovery
When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. Mark 3:8
Alcoholics Anonymous has no marketing plan. Rather, they purposefully adhere to the concept of Attraction, not Promotion. AA doesn’t advertise, they just do the work of helping the alcoholic find recovery. Those who find it are their own advertisement to anyone who needs what AA provides. Its members don’t go door to door trying to convince those who don’t want recovery that they need it. They just follow God themselves, helping anyone who wants, to come along.
This seems to be somewhat similar to Christ’s plan. He didn’t send out event invitations. He didn’t need to. He just used what he had to meet the needs of those whom he lived among. He lived out his father’s will, which attracted great crowds. In today’s story, we don’t see Jesus chasing after anyone, selling cheap repentance and faith. Rather, we see him withdrawing because so many wanted to follow.
As Christians, we rightly believe that we should share what Christ has done for us, encouraging others to follow him. Often though, we try to sell faith and recovery. It’s easy. All you have to do is say the magic words. Just believe and you’re in! You don’t have to do anything. God just delivers you from your addiction.
I don’t think Christ would have recognized or endorsed this version of faith. A life of following him was one of radical change, daily turning from the old self to follow him (Luke 9:23). Jesus didn’t try to sell anyone a cheap version of grace. He just spoke the truth, loved those around him, and said, Follow me. Do whatever it takes to leave the old life and pursue the new one. It won’t be easy, but in me you will find the joy and freedom you’ve been searching for all along.
We may not have the miraculous healing power of Christ, but we can follow his example. We can, first of all, live rightly with the father ourselves. Nothing is as powerful as our own story of transformation. Then, we can use what we have to love those around us. In loving God and loving others, we’ll find more than ample opportunity to share what he’s done for us. We don’t ever need to peddle a cheap version of faith and recovery.