WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 30, 2022
TOPIC: GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
BY T. O. BANSO
“For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment” (2 Corinthians 10:14-16 New King James Version).
The Bible says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15 New King James Vision). When someone takes credit for what someone else has done, it amounts to stealing. This act denies the person of the recognition or other benefits that would have accrued to him.
In academics, it is a crime to use other people’s work without properly acknowledging the author. It’s theft of intellectual property and culprits are appropriately punished for plagiarism. But some acts of plagiarism by lecturers and students still go undetected in countries where schools have not started deploying the software that helps to detect plagiarized works.
It is also possible for the ministers of the gospel to be guilty of plagiarism, under the guise of grace, by using other ministers’ messages or published works extensively in their sermons or books without giving them credit. Some will say there is no copyright in spiritual works just copy it right! That’s not true. It shows a lack of integrity.
There’s a limit to which you can use other ministers’ works without giving them credit. The excuse that it is spiritual material is not tenable. Indeed, the Bible says freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8b). But that doesn’t mean you should deny someone the authorship of his works. You cannot delete his name and relevant details and put your own or present it as your original work. That’s fraud. It’s unChristian. Don’t deny anybody the authorship of whatever he has written or produced. There are laws guiding what you cannot use without permission and what you can use without permission and give the author credit.
It is unethical and immoral to take someone’s sermon and preach it copiously or verbatim without acknowledging the source. A pastor preached another minister’s sermon at a funeral and another pastor in the congregation perceived that he copied the sermon because of some words he used. Right there while he was still preaching, he googled some of the things he had said, and behold the full sermon came up! That preacher didn’t give the author the credit.
Do you know how church members would feel if they discover that their pastors are copying the messages that they are preaching to them as if they actually prepared the messages? This is the digital age. People can easily access information. Even if they don’t find out the truth, God knows. There is a difference between getting sermon ideas, revelation, or inspiration from another minister’s message or book and copying it extensively and preaching it or publishing it without giving the original author credit.
Paul said, “For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment” (2 Corinthians 10:14-16 New King James Version).
Paul founded the Corinthian church during his second missionary journey. Therefore, he said that by claiming authority over the church, he wasn’t claiming credit for the work someone else had done. The Corinthian church was within the sphere of his ministry.
Also, Paul gave his fellow workers credit for their contribution to his ministry and Kingdom advancement generally by mentioning their names and sometimes stating what each person did (Romans 16:3; Colossians 4:7-14; Philemon 1-2, 24; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 8:23).
Paul said of Onesiphorus, “The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day — and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus” (2 Timothy 1:16-18 New King James Version). Paul gave Onesiphorus credit for his generosity to him. That didn’t reduce Paul. Some people like to present themselves as self-sufficient. They have never needed anybody’s assistance! Pride!
In Nehemiah 3, Nehemiah took time to highlight the specific contribution of others to the building of the wall of Jerusalem – starting from the high priest to the priest, individuals, and families. He mentioned specific sections they built. He gave the people the credit.
In Nehemiah 7:70-72, Nehemiah even mentioned the gifts of some of the family leaders, the governor, the other leaders, the rest of the people, and towards the project.
A good leader does not take the credit for the work done or the feat performed by his subordinates. If he does, he won’t only lose their respect, he may lose them! They may quit if they feel that their potential won’t be recognized and appropriately rewarded under him. Even if they remain under him, they’ll be demotivated and won’t give their best. But giving credit is a form of positive reinforcement, which increases motivation.
If, as a leader, you receive praise for the collective performance of your team, humbly share the glory with the team. Recognize the contribution of each team member and praise them privately and publicly.
Don’t ‘steal’ the credit due to your subordinates or someone you benefit from. Give credit where credit is due. It does not reduce you. It rather earns you people’s respect. It shows you you’re a man of integrity. It shows you’re not suffering from insecurities. It also shows you are not selfish. Acknowledge the work of others or their contribution to something. When people deserve praise, praise them. Give credit where credit is due.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for what You are doing through me and other people. Holy Spirit, help me to cultivate the habit of giving credit where credit is due. I shall not deny others their credit; I shall give them credit for their works or efforts. I shall not engage in the unethical and immoral practice of stealing the works of others whether in the gospel ministry or outside.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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