2 Samuel 12:26-31
26 During that time, Joab fought against Rabbah. It was the royal city of the Ammonites. It had high walls around it. Joab was about to capture it. 27 He sent messengers to David. He told them to say, “I have fought against Rabbah. I’ve taken control of its water supply. 28 So bring the rest of the troops together. Surround the city and get ready to attack it. Then capture it. If you don’t, I’ll capture it myself. Then it will be named after me.” 29 So David brought together the whole army and went to Rabbah. He attacked it and captured it. 30 David took the gold crown off the head of the king of Ammon. Then the crown was placed on David’s head. The crown weighed 75 pounds. It had jewels in it. David took a huge amount of goods from the city. 31 He brought out the people who were there. He made them work with saws and iron picks and axes. He forced them to make bricks. David did that to all the towns in Ammon. Then he and his entire army returned to Jerusalem.
This may seem quite a strange passage of Scripture in our modern individualistic world. One guy asking his king to take the credit for all the hard work he had done – why not just take the credit himself. Joab was David’s general, he was really effective and worked hard, he fought and won many battles. But he also knew, even though he was the leader of David’s army, that he had a delegated authority and that as a result while he lead the army, he did so in David’s name. This is true of most leadership contexts. We lead on behalf of another and as a result any ‘success’ or ‘failure’ we have is not simply our own. If we are credited with the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ it is because we are part of a team and in the context of team we all succeed together and fail together. Many don’t mind the sense of succeeding together it is harder when we bear the brunt of failure, particularly when we attribute to someone else. Joab was aware that because David had made a way for him he was able to rise to be the great general he was and so he realised where his allegiance lay.
This begs the question – where does my allegiance lie. If I think I am a self made man then my answer to this question is myself and selfishness ensues. If however, I accurately realise that others have contributed to my success, parents, family, friends, teachers, mentors, bosses… the best and the worst of them, then I realise that I am not ‘self-made’ and so will be able to give credit where it is due as part of a team.
Father, help me to always discern the teams I am in and champion them as a result!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta