When I was a resident, I was fortunate to work with many fine mentors in surgical pathology. One of them was a paternal figure to all the residents in training. His open door policy encouraged us to frequently stop by and review problematic cases with him, even if he was not the attending physician on the case. One day, I had a troubling case with an unusual pattern that I could not match with any of my textbooks. Perplexed, I brought the case to him and pointed out the areas on the slide that were concerning to me. After a few thoughtful moments he declared, “This is a rare find. You found the key features.” He paused and smiled at me. “You made the diagnosis!”
I was flattered but embarrassed. I didn’t make the diagnosis, he did. Yet, when we presented the case at our weekly surgical pathology conference, he was quick to give me the credit. He did this with all of the residents. He had no ego; all he desired for us was to always keep the wonder of discovery and joy of learning in our hearts. It was a positive reaffirming experience. Many years later, I still attempt to emulate this and pass it along to my residents.
Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon. But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer? God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided.
Judges 8:1-3 (NLT)
Gideon was one the judges of ancient Israel, chosen by God to lead the Israelites in a victory over the Midianites who were oppressing them. Inexplicably, the people of Ephraim, one of the tribes of Israel, did not equally share in the revelry and complained to Gideon that he excluded them. How did Gideon respond? He swallowed his pride and pointed to an earlier accomplishment of the Ephraimites, claiming their victory was far greater than his. Hearing this mollified the Ephraimites and stabilized Gideon’s leadership.
President Ronald Reagan stated, “There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” This is exactly what Gideon did. Just as my professor in residency did for me, Gideon gave others the credit. This is an inspiring life lesson. God calls upon all of us to approach Him and life with a humble heart. If we do, at the appropriate time, He will honor us for our faithfulness and trust.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:10 (NLT)
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.