Rights vs Responsibilities

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“Life is not fair!” As a child growing up, this was probably the most irritating statement I heard on a regular basis! Your little brother gets a toy, and you don’t. (Even though it is his birthday!) You look at your mom and say, “that’s not fair!” She glares back at you and says, “Life is not fair.”

All throughout life, we will hear, and even grow to tell our children that very statement. I thought for sure as an adult, that I would not have to be told how unfair life is; but I found that not to be the case. As I was, and am currently being taught and trained in the ministry, I now often hear “ministry is not fair!” My pastor has tried to instill into me, and others that “if you need fair, do not get into the ministry.” We often don’t realize just how true that statement is.

When we look at the life of Christ, we see that His ministry was not fair. He left the throne of Heaven, put off His rightful glory, was made in the likeness of man, and became obedient unto death! (Phil 2:5-10) Christ did not deserve death, but this was why He came.

When we read about the life and ministry of Paul, we can see much of the same unfair persecution. (2 Cor. 12:15) “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” Paul was saying to the church at Corinth, “the more I love you, and serve you, and give to you; the more you expect, and the less you love and appreciate me!” Are we “ok” with this? Do we easily get offended, hurt, or bitter? Will we do what we say we will do even if it is not fair? Are we people of integrity?

Integrity…in my opinion, this is THE most important characteristic of a leader! Integrity defined is “I am who I am no matter where I am, or who I am with.” This goes hand in hand with your “Be level.” Who you are and what you do are the same in private as what they are in public. Only you know this person!

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No one can define the “real you” for you. However, when you are a person of integrity; it shows in how you deal with others, how you get things done, and how well others can count on you. People must know that they can rely on you. The higher a leader goes, the less “rights” he has, and the more “responsibilities” he undertakes. Integrity will determine how well we will deal with the matter of “fairness.” A person of integrity doesn’t have to work to gain followers. People naturally want to be around and follow leaders that do what they say they will do. Leaders with integrity can be relied upon to put others first, and to have the best interest of the people and the organization at heart. I could have all the money, possessions, and position in the world; but without integrity being a defining characteristic in my life, all that is vain!

“Life is not fair. Ministry is not fair. If you need fair, do something else.” This needs to be on the forefront of our minds. This is an ongoing lesson in which I am daily learning. I do not believe I will ever “arrive” on this side of eternity when dealing with fairness. However, if I desire to be an effective leader, mentor, or Christian; I must learn to accept that my rights are not nearly as important as the responsibility I have to spend and be spent!

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