"I did all the work; they got all the credit." These, in essence, were the words recently spoken by a friend. He had crafted a project only to have others take it over and claim the praise. I suppose each of us can identify with him, on some level, whether it was a school project years ago or a recent investment of time in our work or community.
We all enjoy credit when credit is due. I know I do. Reflecting on my responses, however, I realized the issue has gotten "hazy". For instance, as the leader of an organization, I find myself "humbly" saying "Thank you" for an accomplishment that was actually due to the work, support, and creativity of staff members. Giving thanks for a capable staff, as credit is bestowed, is only right. Yet I seem to inordinately enjoy receiving the credit myself.
I am reminded of the man after whom I modeled my medical career – Dennis Burkitt, a British Christian surgeon who spent most of his life in Uganda. His exceptional powers of observation led him to two discoveries making him internationally known in the areas of cancer research and nutrition. The only time I personally met him was at the Bower Award Presentation — a very prestigious award selected by the National Academy of Sciences. During the ceremony he gave credit to God and his colleagues. He seemed embarrassed by all the attention. His authentic humility was truly remarkable. (My heart was restless with the knowledge of my lack of humility.) He cared more about the work than the credit. Harry S. Truman said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." Oh that I might espouse this thought!
Purposely or not, taking credit for others work is actually minor compared to the insidious temptation to take credit that belongs to God alone. God made promises to the children of Israel, but added a warning saying, "You may say to yourself,
'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me'. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, . . . " (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
Whether this "wealth" is actually in money, or the wealth of work and service well done, let us remember that God is the enabler and provider of anything we accomplish. Much can be accomplished if we desire that credit only go to God!
Sharing the journey with you,