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The night is getting late, and I can’t figure out where to turn to in the Bible for comfort, so I turn to my favorite passage, Mark 2.
Mark 2 contains the Calling of Levi, which holds a passage of scripture that has always brought me much comfort. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17b) Many times over throughout my recovery, I have closed my eyes and imagined myself sitting at a dinner party, listening while Jesus says these very same words. I have taken great joy in knowing I am definitely one of the chosen Jesus came to save. There is no doubt about it, I am a sinner.
I can feel the tension in the room. The tax collector and his buddies are yucking it up now with Jesus and his first few followers. Only hours before, this same tax collector had been cheating these followers out of their hard-earned money. Levi, or as many of us know him as, Matthew, was really not the most liked guy in the room. Yet, he was the one that brought the people most in need of Jesus.
You see, Levi understood something that the other four did not: there were many others in desperate need of help.
I can only think that he wanted to make sure all of his friends were able to get in on this whole “being saved” thing. When I read this story, I can’t help but know I am a part of the heritage that Jesus began putting together so long ago.
Yet, the biggest battle is the feeling I don’t deserve to be a part of it, a sense I am too dirty to follow behind Jesus. Each time I feel this way, I can’t help but wonder if it’s true.
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Thankfully, the physician’s prayer guides me to the belief I have the right to sit at that table.
Throughout the entirety of my walk, I have been blessed with the knowledge there is someone who came to make me whole.
I have someone who is willing to call on me, no matter what those around me might think. If I am needed to help further His Kingdom, it doesn’t matter who I think I am, or what I have done. It only matters that I take the next step.
In Levi, I see myself: a person who wants to tell all of my friends about this great new way to live.
Recovery holds this very same meaning to me.
Being able to be without drugs and alcohol, being able to deal with the notions of self-harm, these are my ticket to the dinner party. Not for the sole reason of just being a sober person, but being a man fully living up to the potential of who I am.
I believe Levi brought the sinners and tax collectors with him that day to see Jesus so he wouldn’t feel alone. In this lesson, I have learned we are a people of community, even more so for those of us in recovery. There is a need within me, to be around those who have been through the same battles I have fought.
I am built for community.
Even though that community may not look like anything more than a bunch of burnt-out hooligans to some, it is a community that helps fill me with hope. It is the same hope that Levi experienced when sharing his community with the men that despised him the most. That day, community brought the beginnings of a mission that would rescue all of our lives.
So, as I wrap up another night, I am able to sleep better, knowing I deserve to be a part of Jesus’s crew–not because I have become a righteous man, not because I have another day clean under my belt. I sleep better tonight knowing that in spite of my struggles, I am a sinner who has found his healing physician.
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