Rights!!

My family and I are getting ready for a short term mission trip to Mexico. The last time I was getting ready for a short term mission trip to Mexico, I was in high school. Four score and seven years ago.

I will never forget the preparation for the first trip. My youth pastor sat us down at one of the meetings to watch a video. It was Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With a Mission. I was so impacted, I still remember the point of his message.

Missionaries have no rights. 

You do not have the right to a comfortable bed. You do not have the right to a warm shower or a shower of any kind for that matter. All those things that we accept as rights are more in line with what the rest of the world would call privileges. Clean bathrooms, potable water from the faucet, indoor plumbing…privileges.

Since those many trips to Mexico and other adventures, I have discovered that the relinquishing of rights is required of more than just missionaries. Anyone who would call themselves a disciple has been given that same charge.

Disciples have no rights.

Our contrived ideas that 12 men sat at the foot of the Master with legs and arms crossed taking notes are devastatingly misplaced. Jesus told them to follow Him. He told them to bury their dead, sell all they had, become as dependent and single minded as children. To relinquish their rights.

There are times when my children try to exercise their rights. Often they attempt to evoke the fifth amendment. They falsely believe that they do not have to say anything that may or may not incriminate them in an illegal or inappropriate activity. That does not get them far.

But I also will try to invoke my rights. The Declaration of Independence tells me that I have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And yet…

He [Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I struggle to relinquish my rights. I find myself often ready to stage a coup against those ills and injustices done to me. I am ready to rise up and defend my position. I whine and complain. I feel entitled. I want to grab the situation with both hands and force it to yield to my vision of how it should be. To take no prisoners. To exercise my rights.

And yet…I am asked to lay down my rights. To relinquish control and to become dependent upon the Giver of Life. Like a child. Unless I change.

I have no rights.

I don’t like it. I fight this idea on a daily basis. It goes against every grain of my fiber. But that’s the point. The coup that must be staged is within my heart. My self-righteousness and pride and self-assurance must be extricated by the roots and surrendered.

How about you? If you are wondering if you hold onto certain rights, watch your attitude today. And I will do the same. May the coup begin!


8 Responses to “Rights!!”

  • Janet Hanson Says:

    Amen, Rebecca. This is the coupe we avoid to our peril!

  • Tammy Vanella Says:

    You’ve done it again my friend! I love it when you write from your passion (discipleship). To be honest, I think I struggle is with my right to have all of my relationships be conflict-free. Is that too much to ask? Perhaps it truly is. I don’t have a right to peace…to a life of ‘aloha’ every moment of every day. It’s good to have things stirred up. It gives me a chance to practice mercy, grace, compassion and understanding. Such a great post today! Love you…

  • Susan Basham Says:

    One of the things that bothers me most about today’s youth is that sense of entitlement they have……and then I find myself doing the same thing, though on
    a slightly different level. A level not as obvious, but just as heinous, really. Thanks for reminding me of that today. It’s a constant battle…..this dying to self thing. *sigh* Will we ever get it right this side of Heaven?

    • Rebecca Qualls Says:

      I think sometimes we’ve turned growing up into getting better at hiding our stuff. But yes, still heinous! Great word!!

  • Teddi Deppner Says:

    Great stuff, Rebecca! Thanks for the reminder!

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