Privilege and Responsibility - The Warrior's Journey®

Privilege and Responsibility

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“For there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11) 

“Officers have it made. They get better pay. They get to join the Officer’s Club. They get better on-base housing. They don’t have to do any dirty work. Everybody calls them ‘Sir.’ They get loads of respect.” That’s what I used to think – when I was enlisted. Then I attended and graduated Officer Candidate School – to cash in on all those “officer benefits.” Was I in for a painful awakening! When I was commissioned as an officer, my stress-level skyrocketed. Life became an endless battle to stay out of trouble and keep my head above water. And, as a junior officer, I received very little respect. Whatever benefits I received were hardly worth the hell I caught from superiors and subordinates, alike.  Yes, I suppose some privileges came with being an officer, but the responsibilities were so great that I hardly noticed them. 

In Romans 2, Paul addresses a people who counted themselves privileged as God’s chosen people, God’s Elect (Romans 9:4-5). They had the Law of Moses, the Covenants, the promises, and the Messiah. They considered themselves as far above the unclean Gentiles as the heavens are above the earth. But here Paul explains to them that while they had privileges as God’s Elect, they also have great responsibilities. First and foremost was their responsibility to God – to keep His commandments. It is not enough to merely possess the Law and preach it to others. One must be a doer of the Law to be righteous in God’s sight (Romans 2:12-13). Israel never grasped this. God had called them to be a holy people, consecrated to God (Exodus 19:5-6). They, instead, sought to be like the other nations and copied their practices (1 Samuel 8:5). 

Israel also forgot the second major responsibility of being God’s Elect. They were responsible for bringing God’s word and God’s blessings to the world. “Through you and your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” God had told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Psalm 22:27; Isaiah 27:6). Moses told Israel that they would become a witness to the surrounding nations by simply keeping God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 4:6-8). But God’s ultimate mission for them was to bring His salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6). 

The privileges of God’s Elect are great indeed, but they dare not believe themselves to be God’s favorites. God favors all of humanity and He chooses His Elect to reach them with the Gospel. For God desires for all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). 


  • Does God call us to be a sponge or a channel for God’s blessings? 
  • As God’s Elect, isn’t our service to be upward to God and outward to humanity? 

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