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Servants Have No Rights

We live in a day when everyone insists on his or her personal rights. The courts of law are full of people who feel their “rights” have been infringed upon grievously. It is the theme in every lawyer’s office. “You have your rights,” the highway billboard shouts to passing passengers.

While pastoring in the U. S., I received phone calls from lawyers quite often saying they were “Christian lawyers” looking out for the “rights” of pastors and if I ever needed good legal counsel they were readily available.

That is the sad state of affairs in the world in which we live.

However, Jesus said servants have no rights. Read carefully His words to would be followers:

q       “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).

q       “And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also” (v. 40).

q       “And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two” (v. 41).

q       “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (v. 42).

Have you ever seen those posted in a law office?

Christians have no rights to retaliation, “getting even,” to their own time, money, etc.

How can this be?

We are stewards of God’s possessions. He owns it all, and we belong to Him.

The apostle Paul reminded members of a church that was quick to enter into lawsuits, “You were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23).

Even how we use our bodies is to be in accordance with God’s perfect will (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:17-20; 7:23-24; 2 Cor. 6:14-18).

If is a strange cry when we hear women say, “It is my body; I can do with it as I please.”

It is hard giving up our perceived human rights. We give them up in order to exercise a greater purpose. The apostle Paul said, "Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Cor. 9:16). We can sum up his philosophy of freedom in his words in verse twenty-two. “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak, I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.” Paul did not want anything to stand in the way of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What are the “rights” of the servant of Christ? When we give up our perceived self-rights God takes over and operates according to His rights.

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21).

There is a great relief in knowing that we do not have to lower ourselves to “tit for tat, hate for hate,” “eye for eye,” and “tooth for tooth.”

It is easy to become slaves to people and things. “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Or does he?

A better way is to realize that everything we have comes from the loving hands of a gracious God. We receive by giving, and we gain by losing. How can I use what He has entrusted to me in the best possible way to bring honor and glory to His name? 

Speaking of the Father’s kingdom Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). In the context Jesus is speaking of all those things people fight over.

Jesus set the example for every servant. He “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:22-24).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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