Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Conversation on Privileges

"Our privileges are not for our pleasure, but rather for our purpose."

A gentleman that I very much admire and respect often shares that very powerful quote.

What does it say to you? What does it mean to you, if anything?

I am first reminded that there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying our privileges. Absolutely nothing at all. But are they shared, or are they selfishly consumed? Are they used to enrich the lives of others, or are they used as a tool of self-promotion? Do they reach and improve lives at the extent of one’s circle of influence, perhaps even allow one to grow that circle and touch even more lives?

What do you consider your privileges? For many of us, we immediately think of money, of material riches - our “stuff” if you will. We are all blessed to a different degree. Some are certainly blessed with so much more than others. Many have worked countless hours, perhaps decades, for those riches. There is no doubt that they are hard earned and well deserved. The question remains, to the extent of your own privileges - why… for what purpose?

If we were to take a global perspective, even the poorest of us in this nation are living above the means and enjoying a standard of living far in excess of the rest of the world. I give thanks for such blessings every day, and I’m constantly reminded to consider the responsibilities that come with those blessings. If kept to myself, those privileges are certainly wasted.

I submit that our privileges reach far beyond material gains. What about the information we have in hand that could change lives. What about principles that we’ve learned, concepts that others have shared which have placed us on a better path in life? What about life lessons and experiences? How selfish to waste these only on ourselves.

What about those skills and talents unique to us? If we don’t use them to the fullest, for more than just our own gain, I wonder if we even deserve them.

What about positions of leadership - in our homes, in our community or in our government? If leveraged for personal glory and profit versus service and impact, better that the fall would come more quickly than the ascent.

Our privileges are not for our pleasure, but rather for our purpose. As you consider your life mission, your purpose, examine how your privileges have been provided to help you reach your fullest potential and greatest impact.

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