Taking Another’s Credit

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'” Luke 17:15-19

Have you ever had someone take your idea and run with it? Or perhaps a boss/supervisor take credit for your ideas and work? I have. It is so frustrating. Perhaps you’ve labored for another’s behalf, for their good without receiving so much as a thank you. Maybe like me, if you think about it too long, a twinge of bitterness unfolds within.
I think of Jesus healing the ten lepers. Not only did he heal them from sickness, but he delivered them from insults hurled at them, from begging, from societal shame. Once they were considered nobodies, pariahs, by those around them. Daily dehumanization. Now, because of Jesus’ touch, they were normal. They treasured normal. Normal meant they could now work to provide for themselves and family. Normal meant they could go wherever they wanted–from the village market, to the temple, to visit family without having to yell, “Unclean! Unclean!”
Only one, a Samaritan at that, returned to heap thanks and praise upon Jesus. Jesus notices him and publicly applauds his act of faith.
Recently, when I was overlooked, I thought to myself, “Well really Lord, the glory is supposed to go to you. Really.” But I still didn’t like being overlooked. Not one bit.

I thought about what God says. I remembered that he notices what we do in secret. I also remembered Colossians 3 where Paul admonishes us to do all for the glory of God, not for our own glory. And God sees us. God sees, even if no one else does. It should be enough for us to get our reward in heaven, even if we don’t get it in this life. Should be. That’s a truth we have to work hard to digest. And many who get acknowledgment in this life–if they’ve done acts of righteousness for the wrong motives–may not get acknowledgment in the life to come.

And if our obedience and love bring him joy and glory, let us be content that one day we’ll get acknowledgment, we’ll get a “A well done good and faithful servant, I saw you. I am the God who sees.” This is what we must tell ourselves for it is true and it will squelch bitterness–eventually. It takes a while to get over our own constant focus of  being overlooked–but as we take our thoughts captive, bitterness no longer captivates us.

Updated repost from 4/2011

4 thoughts on “Taking Another’s Credit

  1. Marlena, love your thoughts here. Absolutely God should ultimately get the glory, but I wonder where we draw the line between sitting at the back of the table and taking ownership of our ideas? For example, I wouldn’t give my students a good grade if someone else had written their paper.

  2. Hi H.G. Scott,

    I completely agree with you. There are times when we need to speak up, when we need to say, “Hey wait a minute.” For a while I sat back. Then at the behest of another, I mentioned it, but to no avail.

    So then I had to deal with the bitterness that began to surface and thus this blog post. I am totally about speaking up when we should and doing it in love.

  3. Marlena, that’s a great reminder that strikes home. Why am I so quick to claim the glory when it’s really His? Thanks for this word of truth this morning. And it was wonderful to meet you this past weekend!

  4. Thank you for this, Marlena. I’m glad to have met you in the Festival circle and so glad to have found your blog (perhaps, especially, because I’ve been walking through my own wilderness these past two years!). I look forward to keeping up with your wisdom and encouragement here.

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