“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”

President Harry S. Truman

I’ve used this quote before…a lot.  It’s one of my favorites.  It’s one of my favorites because it’s a constant reminder to me of how much effort we will waste on self-promotion.

When we’re always trying to let people know it was US who did this or did that, we actually get less done.  We get less done because we’re taking time, energy, and other resources in running an ad campaign for our abilities.

King Solomon would agree with President Truman.  The inspired King wrote in Proverbs 27:2:

Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.

Proverbs 27:2
New International Version

It’s always better for others to tell our accolades.  For example, in my role as Lead Pastor, I see my share of resumes.  As someone who coaches people in leadership positions, I’ve helped write resumes.  Trust me, it’s always better to say the praises others have to say than saying it ourselves.

“Joel,” I can hear the objections, “If I don’t say anything, my bosses won’t know it was me.  I have other coworkers who will definitely take the credit—and it’s MY credit.” 

Maybe it is.

And I don’t argue with that objection: others will take credit that isn’t theirs.  And there are times when we must not allow others to lie; however, the thrust of Proverbs 27:2 is still reminding us: it’s far wiser for others to praise us.

In my example above, I want you to think this through: how will you sound to that manager when you try to take credit (that’s rightfully yours)?  You’ll actually sound like you’re trying to hog the spotlight; that’s how you’ll sound.

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

Believe me, your abilities to help others excel will shine through and those around you will KNOW it is you.  But as for you, your attitude is not about stepping into the spotlight of credit.  Instead, it’s allowing the mouths of others to praise your work.

I’ve heard this quote a lot lately (and I can’t find who originally said it), “Leaders get twice the criticism and half the credit they deserve.”  Perhaps it’s true.  And I, for one, think it should be.

As people pursuing Godly wisdom, we should be more willing to take “the heat” of a bad decision and shift the credit to others.  That’s another way the Lord is instilling humility in us. 

Take it from someone who leads teams: you’ll go A LOT further than taking credit for what you could never do alone.

This Proverb also makes us consider the larger picture.  We’re on this planet to accomplish the mission Jesus has given us.  We’re here to fulfill His calling in our lives.  We are servants of the Most High God.  We don’t get the spotlight.  He does.

Who cares who gets the credit.  The Lord has provided us with the abilities to perform.  He has graced us with positions to perform in.  At the end of it all, what credit can we take for ourselves that’s actually what we can take credit for?

Therefore, “let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).