Mission from God
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10
Prior to finding recovery, I’d previously made a couple of half-hearted attempts, all ending in relapse. This last time though, something was radically different. God saved me from myself, and I finally realized that I must respond by daily making a genuine effort to abandon me to follow him. When I got out of treatment, in my exhuberance, I wanted to write a book telling everyone of the freedom I’d found. Those closest to me wisely counseled that perhaps I needed a few years of recovery under my belt first.
As misguided as I may have been at the time, I was right in my desire to share with other addicts what God had done for me. So, I began by going to jail where I met with those who, like me, knew how badly they needed help. I told them what God had done for me, and in doing so, I grew in my own faith and recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that this is an integral part of recovery. The mission of AA is to help its members remain sober and to lead others to sobriety. The two are intertwined. Recovery, by definition, means reaching out to other addicts, sharing our experience, strength, and hope. We do not remain sober only for ourselves. If we do, we embrace the same selfishness that led to our addiction in the first place.
It’s the same our faith. Christ has saved us from ourselves, now, we must share that hope with those who need it most. In today’s passage, Jesus visited the home of Zacchaeus, a tax collector and sinner. The religious elite were offended, but Jesus said this is why he came, to seek and save the lost.
If we claim to follow Christ, his mission must be our mission. Just as he has saved us, we must tell others of what he has done. Jesus went to those who knew their need and he did what he could to love them. We must do the same, using what we have to love those he’s put in our lives. If we refuse to participate in Christ’s mission, by definition, we’re not following him. In obediently sharing his transforming love and grace with others though, we’ll find that we continually experience the freedom of the new life ourselves.