Back in the days when I got paid cash money to write, a lot of my job consisted of drafting letters or op-ed pieces or award nominations for others. It didn’t matter that someone else got the credit. Writing for others was a large part of my job description. The man who hired me taught me early on that when I wrote something for others and it got positive recognition, I should feel proud even if I don’t get the credit. And I always did feel a sense of pride. We were all a team.
The Bible tells us that Moses led a team of literally hundreds of thousands of Jews. He was old, he stuttered, and his team consisted of a lot of ungrateful grumblers. They complained that they were hungry, they griped about being thirsty, they always felt put-upon. And Moses had to settle all of the disputes for this enormous group of whiners and attempt to keep them upbeat and focus their eyes on the prize. So it is no wonder that when Joshua tattled to him in Numbers: 11 that two of his flock — Eldad and Medad — were prophesying on their own, Moses’ response was that he was happy that someone else was helping him out, even if they did have very weird names. Well, he didn’t actually comment on their names.
Anyway, hundreds of years later, Jesus taught us the same lesson. One day John took Jesus aside and told him that he witnessed someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name. How did Jesus respond? Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.
In a recent blog post, I talked about the little family who sits in front of us in church each Sunday. Specifically, I pointed out that Dad is clearly helping out Mom as she adjusts to the newest member — a little newborn girl who joins a 2-year-old sister. During the homily, our priest pointed out that there were times in all of our lives that we feel as though another person isn’t carrying his or her weight. That particular mom and dad looked at each other and literally laughed out loud. I’m guessing they have had many discussions around that very notion since the baby’s birth. Parents are perfect examples of teamwork that requires no one getting the credit. The most important thing is keeping your kids alive and trying to steer them away from being serial killers.
In other words, as long as we’re all working for the same just end, we’re all a team. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit. Humility comes from the grace of God and God is our just end.