Have we No Rights?

have we no rights 2

As we interacted with the SEND Taiwan missionaries, I recalled a small book I read years ago, written by an OMF missionary, Mabel Williamson, “Have We No Rights?” (Moody Press, Chicago, 1957). It’s on some of the rights missionaries give up when they committed themselves to spreading the gospel to lands where His name is not known. Rather than summarize the key ideas, let me just give you the chapter titles so you can see what the book is all about. Missionaries give up the right to:

1. What I consider a normal standard of living
2. The ordinary safeguards of good health
3. Regulate my private affairs as I wish
4. Privacy
5. My own time
6. A normal romance, if any
7. A normal home life
8. Live with the people of my choice
9. Feel superior
10. Run things

Why? Because if they had insisted on their rights, it would be a hindrance to the gospel. Paul said in 1 Co 9:4-6 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living? The apostles had rights, but they gave them up for the sake of the gospel. Love is sacrifice, the giving up of your rights.

The last chapter, “He Had No Rights”, gave the author’s reasons for why she gave up her rights:

He had no rights:
No right to a soft bed, and a well-laid table;
No right to a home of His own, a place where His own pleasure might be sought;
No right to choose pleasant, congenial companions, those who could understand Him and sympathize with Him;
No right to shrink away from filth and sin, to pull His garments closer around Him and turn aside to walk in cleaner paths;
No right to be understood and appreciated; no, not by those upon whom He had poured out a double portion of His love;
No right even never to be forsaken by His Father, the One who meant more than all to Him.
His only right was silently to endure shame, spitting, blows; to take His place as a sinner at the dock; to bear my sins in anguish on the cross.
He had no rights. And I?

What about you? What about us? If we are still insisting on our rights, may be we don’t really know Calvary’s love.

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