The Difference Between ’I Have to’ and ’I Get to’ Sunday School

Monday 28th April, 2008

I led a Sunday School conference for pastors, directors, and general leaders tonight in Crittenden Association. I did not hear the final numbers this age group training event, but I would guess there were about fifty preschool, children, youth, adult, and general leaders. There were seven pastors and eleven Sunday School directors in my conference, so I know at least eleven of the churches were represented for the training.

During the night, I overheard a participant say, "That's the difference between 'I have to' and 'I get to." And even though I still had lots of teaching left to do, that started my mind thinking about all the different scenarios in Sunday School that those attitude impact.

Consider the difference between the two. (1) "I have to" says that the task I am doing is a chore. It sounds like the person feels forced to do the task. It gives the impression that the person would rather not do the job. (2) On the other hand, "I get to" says I enjoy the oppportunity to serve this way. It sounds like the person is looking forward to the task. It gives the impression that the person would rather not miss doing the job.

What a difference that this attitude makes in the Sunday School work God has given us to do for Him! Read the two statements out loud. Emphasize the highlighted part (have to/get to) of each statement:

 I have to study the Bible  I get to study the Bible
 I have to teach children  I get to teach children
 I have to visit a shut-in  I get to visit a shut-in
 I have to pray for a friend  I get to pray for a friend
 I have to witness to the lost  I get to witness to the lost
 I have to prepare another lesson  I get to prepare another lesson
 I have to lead my group to...  I get to lead my group to...
 I have to plan the class party  I get to plan the class party
 I have to attend training  I get to attend training
 I have to go to a planning meeting  I get to go to a planning meeting
 We have to minister to that family  We get to minister to that family 
 We have to reach out  We get to reach out

If you were honest, which do you tend to say the most? Has your service started to feel more monotonous rather than a privilege? Focus on the difference you and other Sunday School leaders make. Realize the privilege that is yours to serve in this way. Realize the blessings that are yours from your personality and spiritual gifts to your source of income and health. Realize what Jesus did for each of us. When you put things in proper perspective, there are very few things we "have to" do, and there are lots of things that we "get to" do. Start practicing saying "I get to." Watch and see if it become contagious! Be revolutionary!

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