Over the course of my years I’ve been a member of countless groups and associations from the board at church to politics to fraternal organizations and everything in between. Yes, that tends to make for strange looks when people realize how I know about the ins and outs of so many different groups. Regardless of how different groups may seem on the outside on the inside they basically are all the same and they have a common sense of working towards a well stated goal.
The other thing they all seem to have from time to time is one or two people who tend to forget that the work done in those groups is to get them to the end goal. Instead they tend to spend time on their own agendas and insist (sometimes in extremely passive ways) of having their egos stroked to the point where the groups begin to ferment and destroy themselves from the inside out in a giant black hole of accomplishing nothing.
As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of Harry Truman and one of my favorite quotes of his has been rolling around in my head lately and I even shared it with members of the Iowa FFA Alumni board this past weekend at our meeting. Truman said, “Imagine how much we could accomplish if we weren’t worried about who got the credit.” I’m just going to let that sit here and sink in for a moment.
Now that it has rolled around in your brain, if I was a betting man, I would guess that I would have made millions betting that each one of you reading this instantly thought of those who only do work if they get recognized for it. Maybe even a few of you thought of a person who lends a hand and secretly wants to be recognized, and yet even more of you probably read it and thought “Holy Cow…that’s me!”
There is no shame in being honest with yourself about it, but is that really what it is all about?
Interestingly enough I tend to see it most in church groups. There is a turf mentality or perhaps that old saying and thought of “We’ve always done it this way.” in too many of our Christian brethren. We only want to be working when someone is watching. Isn’t everything we do there for the glory of God? Isn’t that who should be getting the accolades of the countless hours we work? When did we forget about what we learned in those early Sunday School classes? Aren’t each of us working alongside one another to glorify God and to spread his word?
Before anyone thinks I’m picking on Christians of any denomination, let me say that church is just an easy example. I’ve seen it in almost every group that I’ve been around. If it isn’t about one single person pushing their own agenda or protecting their territory, there is someone else who spends enormous amounts of time worrying about who will pat them on the back when the job is finished. But what if….what if we all were those few people who silently go about doing work and putting their entire attention and life into the tasks before them and get the job done without a word. Those who are the silent majority who keep things moving and who really do deserve credit in the end.
It doesn’t just stop with those things we are a part of in our personal lives, but think for a moment what that would look life if we did the same with our daily work both at home and our jobs? (I’m a guy and I know that we men love to be recognized when we do things we are supposed to do at home anyway.) If we all took the time to put forth the effort to each do our part to reach a goal we might just find in the end that the goal we reached was much more than we ever could have imagined. If that is truly what happens that should be the only thanks we all need. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.