In our US culture (and many others too I’m learning), people can often get caught on who gets credit for something. This challenge is not unique to the US or even to our time. It has continued for thousands of years.
If one man plows a field and readies it for planting, then another comes through and plants the seed in the nice clean rows. Still another then follows and waters the seed and yet another continues to fertilize. And another prunes the plants as they start to grow and yet another clears the weeds from around the plant and finally another comes through and harvests the plants fruit… Who gets credit. Sure it was a team effort but who should we really celebrate for this amazing fruit?
The answer is as simple as a 3rd grade Sunday School question… God. Paul saw these arguments rising up in the Corinthian churches. Some were arguing that Paul was the one who deserved credit for these churches and yet others argued Apollos and still others said Cephas. But Paul rebukes them and says “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Cor 3:7)
This challenge still continues today and shows itself in two ways. Sometimes it is the fault of the follower who lifts leaders up higher than they deserve, giving them more credit than they are due. The serious danger here is that when you take any human flesh focused person and lift them high on a pedestal, you are guaranteed to be disappointed some day. That person is mere flesh and a sinner. They will miss the mark and disappoint you and that disappointed can then often be misdirected and even cause people to stumble more.
Sometimes the fault is in the leader. Their flesh allows their pride to rise up and seek credit. From a human perspective, they may even deserve some credit but in their flesh, they seek more credit than is deserved. This pride and ego and grow to move them into a celebrity type status where the feed on the fame and recognition. But as we know, pride comes before the fall.
However, when you fix your eyes on Jesus, you place recognition in the only place it belongs.
When you are the follower or observer, be sure to give the credit to where credit is due. Recognize and respect those leaders who guide, direct and teach. But put the credit into the hands of the Spirit who is inside that leader. And when you are that leader receiving human recognition, take heart where that recognition belongs. It is great that God has used you and allowed you to be part of His plan. But remember is the the Spirit inside you who deserves the credit.
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