Thursday, August 29, 2013

Giving Credit to Whom It Is Due

“You may say to yourself,  ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.  If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-20 NIV)

It doesn’t take much looking to find arrogance among people who are successful in life.  There are those among athletes who pride themselves on their extraordinary abilities on the court and the field, and do not hesitate to promote their greatness.  There are those in the Academy who always consider themselves the smartest people in the room and who have little patience for those with less intellectual abilities.  And there are those who have made millions who have little sympathy for the less fortunate because they worked hard for their money.

The common thread here is the belief that people are responsible for their own success.  If you are successful, you can take the credit.  If you are less successful, you are to blame.  While it is true that effort is important to being successful in life, it is not the only criterion.  For the athlete, the question is, who gave you the physical abilities to perform at such a high level?  For the academics, who gave you the mental abilities to think well above the average person?  And for the millionaires, who gave you the savvy to find ways to earn big money?  Are we truly self-made?  Hardly.

Not one of us created ourselves.  We were born without our say or doing. Our DNA, which determines the basic stuff with which we have to work with in life—our height, our bone and muscular structure, our IQ, etc.—was given to us.  So even if one works hard and takes advantage of all he’s been given, this truth remains: the basics on which he has built his success he had no role in creating.  They were a gift.

The question then follows: from whom or where did this gift come?  The answer is, of course, from the Lord, the Creator of all things.  This is why God warns the Israelites not to become arrogant because of all the blessings He has bestowed on them.  He knew how easy it is for human beings to take credit where it is not due.  We may be able to produce success by working hard, but that doesn’t mean we can take full credit for it.  Without the abilities God has given us, we would be unable to accomplish anything.  

Today, don’t make the mistake of many who credit themselves for their success in life.  Know that whatever you are able to accomplish is totally dependent upon what the Lord has given you.  Give the credit to Whom it is due.  

© Jim Musser 2013

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