THE RIGHT TO BECOME
By: J. T. Pugh
Matthew 25:24 – 30
“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: 10, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that
which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I. GOD’S GREATEST LAW – “The Right To Become”
We could go to Genesis 2:7,8 and trace this law again as it was woven into the very warp and woof of God’s intent from the beginning that man should have this right to become what he wishes. God’s greatest law is not the law of relativity. This is a mysterious thing, a question of imbalance in material things and sights.
In motion and energy, which pulls all things together, from the minute world of the proton and the neutron, stretching on out to the immensity of space, the law of relativity has its place.
The law of gravity is not the greatest law. The mysterious thing that has its place in the very heart of the earth reaches up through the molten matter which makes up this planet and on out through the mantle of rock and dirt and lays hold upon the moon. Twenty percent less gravity would cause this earth to blow up lite a hydrogen bomb, literally exploding. Gravity comprises the leash which swings us around the sun, unbroken and strong and sure. What a mysterious thing is the law of gravity. Yet this is not the greatest law.
The greatest law, of course, is the right to become. It is the seat of all laws, both moral and civil; it is the very right of man himself. One remembers the phrase we all heard and perhaps memorized in school, “In order to establish justice, to insure domestic tranquility, to provide for the common defense, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity, we do hereby establish and ordain this constitution United States of America.” In the greatest document that man ever composed, the heart of that constitution is the right to “become.” It is the heart of freedom itself.
A. The Slave Is Denied The Right
The slave that labored in the hot steaming fields long ago did not chaff so much under the hardness and harshness of that present hour. It wasn’t the hard work. People have been subjected to struggle since the world began. But it was the dead-end street that the slave lived on and the fact that to him there was taken from him the right to become which discouraged him. He was denied the right to combat in the arenas of life, pitting himself against possible odds. Therefore, he never knew what he really was or what his capabilities were. He never came to the place of self-realization nor even knew the kind of man he actually was because he was deprived of the right to become.
God gave this right to Adam. The garden could ham had a wall that reached to the third heaven, and could have been encircled with ten thousand warrior angels. God could have kept this man back from temptation. But this is the right which has been given to mankind. Adam could eat of the tree, or he could leave it alone.
God could have deprived the angels of their right. But even an angel was given the right to become a devil if he had wanted to. This is a right which God Himself would not tamper with.
B. Bring The Halt, Lame And Blind
And so in Luke 14 the Master said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in. I want you to bring in the halt, the lame and the blind, even those who are born on the other side of the railroad tracks and live in the shadow of the hedges. This right they must have. They will not be deprived of the right to become. They that halt upon their feet, they that grope for the way, they will sit at a royal table. They will walk inside a king’s palace,” They had this right, the right to become. And you have the right to become.
C. Abortion Is Murder
I see on the back of cars “Abortion is murder.” I seriously doubt that it can be applied in every instance; for example, the rape victim, the couple that is old in years, and finds themselves with child or the person that is not able to support the baby. When does it become a soul? The Bible said, “God breathed into Adam the breath of life and man became…” The entrance of the breath of life; then, a living soul. It became a unit of its own, capable of motivating itself, a breathing soul. The inference was that he was not a living soul until breath entered into him and he became a self sufficient soul. But when that happens, it is altogether different. There is a debt that the doctor owes to that little breathing soul and a debt that society owes to that little entity of flesh. It has a right that is greater than all laws in the world, and that is the right to become, once it is recognized as a unit of society.
D. Losing The Right To Become
In Worthington, Minnesota, some of our missionaries experienced a story of bereavement. To their family came a fine little boy, strong, playful, alert and very intelligent. They said,”We enjoyed him so much. When the was almost a year old, he got a little something on his chin. We thought it was infantigo and took him to the doctor; he also thought it was. The doctor put something on it and when he did, it spread like wildfire. It went all over his face like big raw ulcers. The doctor was not able to stop it. It went into his hair and covered his body. Finally we went to the Mayo Clinic with the finest of physicians. It seemed certain that they would be able to arrest it, but they couldn’t and he steadily grew worse. He was such a brave little fellow; he fought to live and it seemed he would make it. Then it was discovered that the ulcers had gone down into his lungs and covered his stomach. He didn’t have a chance, but he had really tried. When he breathed his last breath, the nurses all gathered around the little oxygen tent and wept. He had really fought. He wanted to live. But he didn’t quite make it.” He had been deprived of his right to become.
E. Redemption Gives Us Right To Become
You have the right to become; redemption gives us that. Jesus died that you and I could stand guiltless before God without fear or apology, and stand in the right which He created for us. Not that we are good, but that God is good and He has bequeathed to us the greatest of all rights and that is the right to become.
We don’t have forever to do that. In fact, it has been computed that 6,507 working days is all that we have to affect this, a total of 18 years and 4 days.
F. Not “Being” but “Becoming”
It is not being that is so important, it is “becoming.” This is the most important thing. God could have given us the finished world, but He didn’t. He gave us fields untilled, forests uncut; houses were not built and the diamonds were not dug. There were a lot of things that were not done because God knew man would be like Himself, a creator, a worker, a builder, a doer; that he would exercise the right to fashion his own world and to become.
II. ATTITUDE OF THE HOME MISSIONS DIVISION
This Division has not given a soft place to people who have worked with it and in it. It has not created a syndrome of politics where “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Friendship has not been the deciding factor when men have, been chosen for training seminars or other things. Men have participated at the invitation of leadership that we knew would be dissenters. And they have been, welcomed because balance was needed. Friendship can never be a factor in the promotion. But there is something else that we must give that’s a greater factor than that. To every man who comes within the shadow of this Division, it must be given: The Right To Become. To take the lid off so that he can realize his greatest potential, and develop himself to the fullest extent. This is the greatest thing that any leadership could give to those who follow it.
A. America, Give Me A Chance
The book that has meant a lot to many people and has had a great impact on their lives was written by Edward W. Balk. He was an immigrant to this country and at that time was editor of the New York Times. He wrote a sizeable book that would set you on fire. It told of how he came to this country as a very poor boy. The title of his book was almost a plea, “AMERICA GIVE ME A CHANCE.” All that Edward W. Balk wanted was just a chance. He looked to America for that, and America gave it to him.
B. You Have Right To Leadership
You have the right of self improvement and you also have the right to leadership. We don’t have to apologize for that. We don’t have to apologize for even wanting to lead. God put that in a man. He gave Adam the authority to rule the world. A real man has it in him to this day. You have a right to that.
But you don’t have a right for an office. There is no man in the United Pentecostal Church that has an inherent right to an office. This is something conferred on a man, not a right. It is impossible for a conference to give that away, because the office involves the right of choice and they have only conferred that, and finally that must rest with the conference, the right to decide and to choose. It must go back to the conference, but you do have a right of leadership.
For instance, when you stand at the table in the District Evangelism Councils, the key men of the District will be present, if the plan works as it should. The District Board will possibly be there, the Home Missions Board, the Home Missions Director and the District Superintendent. In such a setting, a speaker or leader could be overwhelmed or awed by persons or by offices; you needn’t be. You shouldn’t be. You have the right to be there. You are there to represent the cause of God by the right and the desire of the General Conference. Stand without apology in your conferences. Move in with assurance and with a great weight of knowledge. Take hold of it with a firm hand, Be a “take charge” fellow. Don’t apologize for it. Look people straight in the eye.
C. Acquire Dynamism
Your teammates have a right to become. Each of the officials and preachers you work with have the right to become. Being the leader you are, you will be a great factor in seeing that this prerogative comes to them, that they can act upon it and it can be applied to their lives.
Nothing can rise higher than its leadership; it never does, it never will, it can’t. In a church or district, it is possible for leadership to create a climate that is conducive to growth, where people can bloom out to their best and finest ability. A word used in executives circles is “dynamism.” This means that a man can carry about him on an aura of self confidence and knowledge and his own rightfulness so that even his moving into a particular group will change the conversation of that group. Everybody knows that there has been a change in the climate by the injection of only one man that has stepped into the circle of that group.
1. Climates Have To Be Changed
Leadership is able to change climates and conditions by simply being there, and by what they believe and do. The people you meet will be enhance, to growth by your ability to change circumstances and climates in District. Some districts have climates in which growth is almost impossible. Those climates will have to be changed. That is your job, a job for you and Jesus.
You should be able to create the kind of climate that will grow big men and leaders in the places where you go. Okra, like cotton, grows in a hot humid climate. It will not grow elsewhere. Some men are like carriers of disease; they carry fear and misgivings. They project these things which are bottled up in themselves into every situation they meet. So every situation falls into disuse, decay, quandary and problems.
There are pastors who are able to actually take rebels that drift over from some other church that nobody could do anything with. He can take those people and make good saints out of them. Such a pastor has the attitude that this person, rebel though they appear, has the right to become. They shouldn’t be deprived of that. I’m going to give them that right. This is the right to humanity. It was the right of angels. It is the highest law of the entire universe. The right to become.
III. THE LEADER, CLOTHED WITH A CAUSE
Districts are built, of course, as preachers are built. This division has attempted to build the preachers we work with and help them to be better servants. The Revival that has come, The Power Witness, Faith Child, Outreach Director’s Guide, Home Missions Director’s Guide, Deeper Life Meetings, all of these things have been an attempt to build ministers and districts, clothing them in the church’s cause.
But when you go into some districts, you will find conditions that are somewhat appalling, and it will stagger you. One of our Regional men has made a particular request and his request has merit if we could find the money to do it. He said, “I think that where we hold the District Evangelism Council means a whole lot to the success or failure of it. If we could have a nice room iq a motel, it would mean a whole lot. This would put it into a good setting,” Anyone who knows anything about education knows this is right.
To inspire confidence, inject enthusiasm and to lead men into a cause, we have to lift their minds into a higher cause. One man told of a meeting he attended in one district. When they came, they came to a little small church. “It was unpainted, or the paint was peeling off. It was located beside a junk yard in a very rough area. The church was dirty and had not been cleaned up since the last service. The seats were slat seats, very uncomfortable for us to sit on all day. It was hot in there, so we put the windows up as there was no other way to cool it. By the time we got started with the meeting, some neighbor started mowing his yard. We could hardly hear ourselves.” Needless to say, they got very little done.
You may have districts that need help, and men that need help. You are come to be a leader of men, to inspire them and to tell them that there is a better way to do it. There is a better way to be.
And the Master said, “I want you to go out where the hedges are, and I want you to go where the roads run out into the country, where there are no street lights. I want you to find those people out there. Some of them are halt. Some are blind and they grope for their way. I want you to bring them and sit them down in a clean motel. Let them know that they have the right to become.” There is nothing in this world like helping a fellow man who needs help. This is what leadership is about. It’s not an ivory throne nor prestige. It’s not a job, nor an office.
Let the words of our Lord come so plaintive and tender to us: “He that would be the greatest among you.” The revised version puts it this way, “Let him be everybody’s slave.” It is to be a servant. This is what real leadership is. This is redemptive leadership, clothing itself with a cause and reaching down to lift a fellow man to pick him up and help him; to clothe him in the same cause.
A. Paralyzed Man Finds Resources
There was a farmer who lived, and perhaps still does, in Wisconsin. He was stricken with paralysis and lay flat on his back in bed. Consider the situation at that time. He can’t farm his fields anymore. What is going to happen to Mr. Thore? He is deprived of the right to use his legs, and his hands. He cannot get up and move around like other people.
But he held on to that one right which is man’s greatest right and, that it “the right to become.” Not being able to use hands or feet, he used the greatest part about him, his brain. Resources were found in his head that he had not dreamed possible. There were enough riches between his ears to clothe his family and keep a roof over them. On that farm land he built one of the greatest enterprises in the state, one of the greatest packing houses Wisconsin has. He did it on the flat of his back, without moving from his bed. He did it because he did not abdicate the greatest right which God gives man, “I have the right to become. I am not throwing that away, I am not giving it up. I am a man. God put me here. I have a right to be here. God has given it to me, and I stand on
that right.” He could have seen failure. But we usually see what we are predisposed to see.
B. Think Of me Man To Be
Four hundred eminent men were contacted and talked to and it was found that every one of these had obstacles, physical handicaps or tragedies in their lives. But they rose above it and reached something that was better and greater.
One day a man walked into a bank and sat down at an officer’s desk. He had shabby clothes and his shoes were unshined. This is what he told the banker, “I have a little run-down car, and I live in a make-shift apartment. The people I know and work with live in apartments like mine, and they drive the kind of cars I drive, and wear the kind of clothes I wear. But I’m determined not to live this way. And if I looked at the house that I lived in and thought of the kind of man that I presently am, I would be very discouraged. But when I think of the man that I am going to be, this makes me feel better. It makes me feel stronger.”
There are some preachers in your districts who need to be pointed to the make that they can be. Preachers need to be helped.
C. Released From Lazy Heritage
One of the richest men of the United States is a meager old man. He said that as farback as-he could remember, almost every day his mother would take him and lift him up on her knee and while rocking she would tell him things like this: “The reason we live on the back side of this field and in this old shanty is not because you are a Negro. The reason we don’t have any car to drive is not because the white man oppresses us. The reason we live in this house, and have no car to drive, the reason you wear the kind of clothes you wear is because that your father and his father before him were lazy. They did not take full opportunity of the things God gave them. You don’t have to live on the back side of this field. And you don’t have to wear these kind of clothes. Because God is on your side. And if you will try, He will meet you more than half way.”
She rescued her son from the syndrome of fate and bequeathed to him a tremendous heritage; she gave him that great right, “the right to become.”
There are some preachers you will meet that need to be released. They have been beaten down, stomped on, so to speak, and ploughed under. You will meet them, know them and help them. They are men there who need to be reminded of their right to become. That’s what it is all about.
D. Changed Attitude Brings Results
The power of this statement was shown in the attitude of Sister J. B. Lambeth in Council Bluff, Iowa. She had been out all day visiting and came in discouraged very late in the afternoon. There had not been much success that day knocking doors. Her boy had already come in from school. And, in fact, the lights were on in the kitchen and she heard Brother Lambeth and Brad preparing supper. They were talking to one another. She was so discouraged that she just knelt down at the couch there in the living room and wept.
But it is wonderful how God can come and change our thinking when we are feeling sorry for ourselves. He can get us straightened out on a lot of things if we will just pray. The Lord helped her, and she found herself praying this prayer: “Lord I’ve been visiting today to make an impression because I wanted the church built, and I wanted a good report to send in to the Home Missions Division. I’m afraid, God, that I didn’t visit today. Please forgive me. And Lord, the day is gone, but I’m going back into the streets and I’m going to visit because of the stripes that were on your back. I’m going to visit because of the prints of the nails in your hands. I’m going to give you an hour. I’m sorry I didn’t give you the whole day.”
She went out into the gathering darkness, back to the hostile porches, and began to knock on doors again. And in that hour she found six adults who came to their church and gave their hearts to God. She did it to the Lord.
IV. THE LEADER IS RESPONSIBLE
Leaders can stir preachers, and preachers can stir laymen, laymen can win souls and souls can be saved.
There was a man Jesus saw in hell, and after he couldn’t get that one drop of water he took his stand on the greatest law that God gave. He said, “I’ve got five brothers and I want you to go tell them. They have a right and I don’t think they ought to be deprived of it. I don’t want them coming here. Somebody needs to go to them and give them the right to become. They don’t have to come here.”
Right now there are millions of souls in hell screaming and crying, trying to make themselves heard. And they see all that goes on in this earth. And some of those millions are screaming to leaders in the United Pentecostal Church. And they scream out with horse voices: “Leaders can stir preachers, preachers can stir saints, saints can witness and souls can be saved.”
But you know it could be that a leader thinks himself to be very important, that his happiness and whatever it takes to tickle his ego is very, very important. Perhaps he knows that somebody else can do the job he is doing better than he, But in his mind that doesn’t enter into it. It’s a fact that “I’m enjoying this and I like this office.”
However, reality is greater than the office. Souls are involved and that which happens in a district finally happens in the churches; and what happens in the churches will happen on the streets. And souls will be saved.
A. Souls Have A Right To Become
If just one man went to hell in order for a leader to enjoy his office, that leader would meet him at the judgment and say “I’m sorry you had to do it; I really did like that office and I really enjoyed it, I know that eternity is going to be a long time, but have a good time.”
But if 100 people go to hell because a leader is just thinking of himself, of self-preservation, that leader must be a really important man, mustn’t he?
Don’t you believe those 100 souls had a right to become? And a leader can either give it to them or withhold it. Your work is not just a job. It’s not that at all. Your work is spiritual work and souls are involved.
V. GIFT OF LEADERSHIP RELEASES MEN
The gift of leadership does not obligate people to itself, It does not make men captives. It releases men to stand tall, to reach their highest potential and to do their best. True leadership develops men, because they have “the right to become.”
(The above material was prepared and published by Bro. J. T. Pugh.)
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