We’ve all been there; someone else gets credit for the work we’ve done. But how are we, as Christian women to respond to this scenario, one that is all too common in the military. Brenda has some wise words of encouragement for us.
When Someone Else Gets Credit
by Brenda Pace
“You can do anything for God if you don’t care who gets the credit.” A small, framed, cross-stitch of this quote sits in my office. I made it for my dad many years ago and it sat in his office until his death. I cross-stitched the quote after reading it under his photo in the yearbook of the university where he was on faculty. The caption read, “Dr. Christenbury’s philosophy of life: “‘You can do anything for God if you don’t care who gets the credit.’” My dad would be the first to tell you the inspirational credit for this quote goes to Harry S. Truman who said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
Credit for a good idea or accomplishment is something I daresay everyone enjoys and appreciates. Yet, all of us are ripe to take credit for something that is not ours to receive. I’ve done it; in fact, a friend recently brought to my attention that years ago I did this with an idea that originated with her. I looked at her in disbelief, “I did?”
As hard as it was to hear, I appreciated the gracious way my friend gently, and honestly confronted me in taking credit for something that was not mine to own. Being confronted with my own weakness—even years later—I was faced with the choice to be humiliated or humbled. Humiliated makes excuses, defends actions, and ascribes blame. Humbled takes the posture of acknowledging mistakes and confessing sin. I chose the latter. My friend also chose the route of humility in not making the issue an issue at the time and waiting until our friendship had matured and strengthened to even mention it to me.
She lived out my dad’s quote. Her comments to me were not about finally getting credit or revenge, but in being a friend who spoke truth to me in love. We celebrated the good work God had done and together praised God for his faithfulness in ministry and friendship.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Viewing this concept through a military lens, consider the military commander. The commander is often credited for accomplishments of an organization. A good commander knows that it takes many people to achieve success. Success is often more about who is in a leadership position at the time of the accomplishment than who produced the good idea. On the other hand, when something goes wrong the commander gets the credit (i.e., blame) for lack of success.
In times of success or failure, credit or blame, the challenge is to rise up and support those God has placed in leadership and to remember it is God who brings any success.
The Old Testament book of Nehemiah offers an example of this principle when Nehemiah went to the king to ask permission to take a group to Judah to continue and complete the building of the ruined city.
You can read the entire story in the second chapter of Nehemiah. In verse 8 of that chapter we read:
“And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”
No doubt the king held Nehemiah in high esteem, yet Nehemiah did not credit the favor with his own ability to influence the king by his articulate speech or professional demeanor. No, he gave the credit to God. He recognized the providential hand of God on his life. He knew who to give the credit.
When others take credit for something you’ve done remember that God is the one who keeps the eternal account. Praise from men is temporal, but praise from God is eternal.
Pause Have you been guilty of taking credit for something that was meant for someone else? Or have you done something that produced a positive result and someone else took the credit? How did either of these situations make you feel? How did you respond?
What do you learn about giving or taking credit from these Scriptures?
Submit How will you respond to taking credit or relinquishing credit for a good idea or achievement? Will you choose humiliation or humility?
Pray “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).
1. https://www.trumanlibraryinstitute.org/truman/truman-quotes/page/5/, accessed April 5, 2021.
Visit Michelle’s beautiful prayer, Flourishing in God-Given Work, for more encouragement.