Why is it so many people are so quick to take the credit and yet so reluctant to accept the blame? It’s always been a confusing contradiction to me. Maybe it’s because people need attention. They need to be validated. They want to know their life is worth something. As Andy Warhol said, “We all need our 15 minutes of fame.”
But let me tell you, credit is way over-rated. And people of class and quality never seek it. Therefore they never end up casting blame. That’s the beauty of this dual equation. Those who do not seek credit also do not cast blame. These are people with servant hearts. Here is the bottom line. If you ever accomplish anything of any quality you have to have an awfully lot of people around you. It would have to be a collaborative team-effort.
Sixteen years ago, my wife and I moved to Nashville to plant a new kind of church; a church that would reach out and touch the hearts of men and women who had given up on church but had not given up on God. It was an amazing trip. It was an amazing experience. For sixteen years Paula and I watched as God did truly miraculous things. But as usual, people standing on the outside don’t get it.
The miraculous things I’ve seen in the last 16 years have very little to do with bricks and mortar, with attention, fame, or credit-grabbing. It’s about the change in the hearts and the lives of men and women. I’ve seen miraculous things that far out-weigh the buying of land, the building of buildings, the hiring of staff, the running of a massive organization, and the balancing of a thousand competing expectations.
I’ve seen God take a drug addict and set them free. I’ve seen cancer healed. I’ve seen children get up off of deathbeds. I’ve seen marriages resurrected. I’ve seen companies pulled back from the brink of failure by the power of prayer. I’ve seen people who were skeptical and agnostic fully embrace the miraculous and the possibility that God does love them as they are and not as they ought to be.
I’ve seen this happen all across the country in great churches unlike America has ever seen; churches like Saddleback Church in California pastored by Rick Warren, Willow Creek in Chicago pastored by Bill Hybels, NorthPoint in Atlanta pastored by Andy Stanley, Fellowship Church in Dallas pastored by Ed Young, Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi pastored by Bil Cornelius. On and on and on I could go.
And what you’ll discover about all of these places is that none of these men seek credit. They don’t do it for the credit or the attention. Now what they do is very public and they practice their gifts in front of people. They all have servant hearts. They’re all mission-driven. They are all Jesus people who want to be part of a movement called Christianity, without the “ianity,” without the religion, without the rules. They want to be a part of setting people free. They want to be a part of seeing great things happen in the lives of people. That’s their joy. That’s their motivation.
Here’s the bottom line. If you’re a credit-seeker, if you want credit for what you did and when you did it and how much you did it, and you have to get it by climbing over someone else, cutting someone down, or doing something that you’ll later regret, you’re on the wrong path. The real joy in life is not the solo performance or the star player, it’s the team.
I learned that this week as I watched the Titans comeback from a 21-0 deficit into the fourth quarter. I saw Vince Young get forearmed in the mouth hard enough to break the ear-piece on his helmet. And I saw him get up mad, not just angry, but MAD – Motivated to Act Decisively. And he motivated his teammates. They all played at a level I had not seen in several years. Up until that moment they were lackluster. They seemed to be tired, almost ready for the game to be over. Yet something sparked them. And it was not Vince Young. It was the team. It wasn’t Pacman Jones. It was the team.
And it was not just the team, it was all of us in the stands rooting them on. It was an experience. It was a celebration. It was jubilation. It was a gathering on an amazing afternoon, not unlike what the church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be. Not star performers, but servants – loving, serving, giving, and exercising their gifts all for that moment of worship, experience, of setting people free. This is not only true in churches but in homes and businesses. Listen, credit is way over-rated. Seek to work with great people.
Here is my formula for success: Do something you really love to do, with people you love to do it with and where you want to do it, and you’ll be able to do it for a very, very long time and count it success.