By God’s Grace, my recovery began with an inadvertent act of service.
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She slumped in the snow in front of a 7-Eleven store in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in North Denver. Fearing for her safety, I reluctantly offered her a ride home. During this simple act of service, she was inspired to share her personal story of healing and recovery from heroin addiction and an abusive co-dependent relationship. Her simple words changed my life and inspired the genesis of my long journey of recovery from alcoholism.
If there’s one thing that Christ’s ministry teaches us, it is that He and our Father in Heaven have great affection and compassion for their lost sheep. However, Christ was frequently criticized because of the time He spent with sinners, ministering to them. Consider the following story from the New Testament:
The gospel of Luke tells us that Christ dined in the house of a Pharisee named Simon (Matthew refers to him as “Simon the Leper”… perhaps the one that returned and gave thanks after being healed…?) As they ate their meal, a woman of the city “…brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” (Luke 7:37-38)
Such a public display of affection was considered inappropriately intimate and would have raised eyebrows, even if the man and woman had been married. So for Christ to allow her to do this showed great patience and forbearance.
A teaching moment
Simon, observing the scene…
“…spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39, emphasis added)
Christ, discerning Simon’s thoughts…
“…turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, See thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gave me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.— Luke 7:44-47, 49 (Emphasis added)
“Thou gave me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
“My head with oil thou did not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
“Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much…
…And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven…thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
Just as I received blessings far greater than the service I gave by offering a stranger a ride home, this woman’s simple and humble service resulted in some of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life…redemption, recovery, forgiveness, and the fruits of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Throughout my journey of addiction, I have received God’s grace daily. Each act of grace added a drop of oil to my alabaster box. As you listen to this song, consider the cost of the oil in your alabaster box.