How Relentless Pursuit of Recognition Derails Effectiveness
Movie credits are generally thought to be about recognition. While you may not believe this, I really do enjoy them. That’s right, I read the names and titles of the people who put together the masterpiece I just finished enjoying. Sometimes, the actor behind a standout role simply must be identified so I can find other work they’ve done. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a surprise in or at the end of the “boring part.”
Yes, there are often bloopers, outtakes, interviews, extensions of the stories. Sometimes, the credits contain closure to the movie you’ve just watched. Other times, you might get a nifty little tidbit foretelling the eventual comping of a sequel.
One of the most memorable and well-known examples of credit sequences is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The now famous credits scene shows the Matthew Broderick portrayed Ferris Bueller coming back into frame, astounded people are still watching. He tells everyone to leave, that the credits are over. There’s no more movie. In other words, he’s telling us to go home or turn off our TVs.
It’s a humorous take on the time-honored tradition of listing every person or entity associated with the arduous task of getting the final product into our theaters, homes and devices. It goes without saying, there are many people involved.
I share all this to offer an “aha moment” I once experienced. As a representative of a mission-focused non-profit presented segments of a production at my church, she paused to set up of the final offering. She explained she wanted us to view the credits because of the testimonials scattered throughout.
And she then said something that’s stuck with me ever since:
Don’t Let the Credits Distract You from God’s Glory
What a powerful, multi-faceted message in that humble statement!
“Please, don’t let the credits distract you from God’s Glory.”
Her request was not for the sake of vanity, nor was it to make sure everyone got their just rewards. She sincerely wanted us to hear the testimony of the individuals who shared their stories. I got to thinking; that should be the way we should approach all worthy causes.
The grasp for credit should not distract us from the overall purpose: to glorify God.
Nehemiah Didn’t Need (or Seek) Recognition
I’m reminded of Nehemiah, who Andy Stanley observes was “just a regular guy who caught a divine glimpse of what could and should be. And then went after it with all his heart.”
In his book, Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision, Stanley builds a great case for a clear and God-ordained approach to pursuing vision. Nehemiah was concerned over the condition of Jerusalem to the point that he came to view doing something about it as a moral imperative. In Nehemiah’s case, he took on risk and ridicule to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its fortifications.
Along the way to rebuilding the wall and revitalizing Jerusalem, Nehemiah encountered distractions of perceived opportunities, criticism, fear, and more. And yet, he remained intensely focused on seeing the vision through to the very end. And without delay.
Having completed the monumental task of repairing and rebuilding of the wall in a mere 52 days, Nehemiah didn’t puff out his chest and trot around asking everyone to “look at what I did.” Instead, he notes:
“When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” – Nehemiah 6:16 NIV
Focusing Yourself Away from Distraction
If you are pursuing a God instilled vision, don’t let distractions derail you.
Like Nehemiah, stay focused on the big picture, which is not YOUR glory. Stay the course, refining every step of the way. This should be true of our projects here under the sun as well as the good eternal works God has begun in each of us. Here are a few steps to take as you begin to observe distraction creeping into your vision:
- Remember you are doing a great work – one that’s bigger than you and requires full faith in God.
- The impact of critical voices reduce as evidence of the vision comes true (and God is glorified).
- The vision you are pursuing is not about you (or about you getting credit).
- Credit sequences are long for a reason – it takes the work of many hands cooperatively working together, all of whom God has uniquely equipped for their specific roles.