Collaboration and the Art of Giving Up Credit

Candid Together van Gogh quote

“I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built, and you live in them; you eat the fruit of vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.” Joshua 24:13

A creative masterpiece is the result of a succession of little strokes, tiny marks, a single idea and then another. For it to hold any meaning the work depends on a variety of colors or hues or shades; the inspiration dependent on the community of the artist – all who participate in giving and receiving form. The finished work resembles nothing of its initial spark and is complete only when the artist ceases from adjusting, contouring. And even then, the creator is compelled to create – to start on another inspiration with a mark here, a brush stroke there.

The people under Joshua’s care came into a land though a succession of acts over decades (and more) by the hand of God. They landed in a space that was already cultivated, rich in the necessities and in luxuries. All the people participated in the effort (for ill or for good) and the result was still the same: the provision God promised became reality. The only thing God asked of them was to acknowledge God, glory in God, the Creator-Provider.

Nothing I accomplish is entirely my doing. Everything that our country is today (for good or for ill) is a result of all who went before us and all who surround us. If there be meaning in the masterpiece of humankind, all the colors and hues and shades that comprise it – and shape it – must be visible. And the fullness of its beauty, then, is perceived more vibrantly, appreciated in the richest wisdom when standing in the presence (glory) of the Creator-Provider. To focus on anything else detracts from its beauty, and in the scriptures is called “idolatry.”

I, for one, am grateful for the remarkable people in my life brought together by the More Than, and over a succession of little things accompany me to become, to accomplish something great – masterful.

Who surrounds you today, brought together with you to become more of you?

Breathe deeply as you consider each one.

Be grateful.

For a cogent, forthright assessment of the US’s idolatry, read Miguel de la Torre’s brilliant, “Keeping the White House White.”