He Had No Rights. And I?

He Had No Rights. And I?

Tuesday, April 10 2018


Many years ago now, I read a poem called “He Had No Rights”. It truly pierced my heart at the time …


I grew up in a wonderful, free country: a country whose Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with these words, “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…” – a Charter which subsequently declares and guarantees the Fundamental Freedoms and the Democratic Rights, Mobility Rights, Legal Rights, etc. of all Canadian Citizens. I am thankful, SO THANKFUL, for this Charter and for the freedoms that were and continue to be mine as a Canadian citizen.


But then, as I said, I read this poem many years ago – and the other day, I was reminded of it again. It’s a poem that speaks of “rights” as well. But on a totally different level, and in a completely different sphere. This poem about “rights”, Jesus Christ’s rights and our rights, addresses our liberties and privileges from the inside out, from the attitudes and convictions of our hearts and minds outward to our way of living.


What more can I say? Every time I read this poem, it confronts me, challenges me and pushes me to take a stand. Will I claim and demand all the “rights” that I believe to be mine in this life? Or will I surrender them in order to gain what are truly my “rights”?


Jim Elliot, one of five missionaries killed in 1956 while participating in Operation Auca, an attempt to evangelize the Huaorani people of Ecuador, said before he died: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”


So, will I too give up the “rights” that I cannot keep in this life anyway, in order to gain those “rights” which I can never lose, now or in eternity?


And what about you?




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?


A right to the "comforts" of life?

No, but a right to the love of God for my pillow.

A right to physical safety?

No, but a right to the security of being in His will.

A right to love and sympathy from those around me?

No, but a right to the friendship of the One

who understands me better than I do myself.

A right to be a leader among men?

No, but the right to be led by the One to whom I have given my all,

led as is a little child, with its hand in the hand of its father.

A right to a home, and dear ones?

No, not necessarily; but a right to dwell in the heart of God.

A right to myself? No, but, oh, I have a right to Christ.


All that He takes I will give;

All that He gives will I take;

He, my only right!

He, the one right before which all other rights fade into nothingness.

I have full right to Him;

Oh, may He have full right to me!


(written by Mabel Williamson –

excerpted from her book HAVE WE NO RIGHTS?,

published in 1957)


Dear friend: I invite you to finish this time of reflection worshiping Christ with a beautiful song from SOVEREIGN GRACE called "All I Have Is Christ", here at this link: 



More Reflections [+]