Who Gets the Accolades?

January 23, 2023

A farmer collected horses, and he only needed one more breed to complete his collection. Then, one day, he found out that his neighbor had a particular breed of horse that he needed. The motivated farmer bothered his neighbor until he sold the horse to him. 

A month later, the horse became ill. The farmer called his veterinarian, who said: "Your horse has a virus. He must take this medicine for three days. I'll come back on the third day, and if he's not better, we'll have to put him down."

Nearby, the pig listened closely to their conversation. The farmer gave the horse the medicine. The pig approached the horse and said, "Be strong, my friend. Get up, or else they'll put you to sleep!"

On the second day, the farmer gave the horse the medicine again. The pig approached the horse and said: "Come on, buddy, get up, or else you're going to die! Come on. I'll help you get up. Let's go! One, two, and three, now get up!" But the horse did not respond.

On the third day, the farmer administered the medicine again. The veterinarian then said to the farmer. "Unfortunately, we'll have to put your horse down tomorrow. Otherwise, the virus he has might spread and infect the other horses."

After they left, the pig approached the horse, "Listen, pal, it's now or never! Get up, come on! Have courage! Come on! Get up! Get up! That's it, slowly! Great! Come on, one, two, and three; good, good! Now faster, come on. Fantastic! Run, run more! Yes! You did it."

When the farmer returned, he saw the horse running in the field and began shouting: "It's a miracle! My horse is cured. This deserves a party. Let's kill the pig!"

Have you ever felt like that pig? You worked hard in a supporting role to accomplish a goal, and your boss gets the credit when success finally comes along. Or perhaps you invented something working for your company, but your company got the patent. Then you got fired because the company didn't need you anymore. And who gets the accolades after a football game, the quarterback or the offensive linemen? 

Learning to live without recognition is truly a humbling experience. Unfortunately, our culture focuses on the 'sage on the stage' rather than the 'guide by their side.' But, as you and I should know, not much happens without the contributors who make things happen. In other words, if you see a turtle on the fence, it’s for sure the turtle had help to get there.

Here's a true story from author John Maxwell about the behind-the-scenes people we all need to get to where we are going.  

During the 1800s, a famous organist traveled from town to town across American giving concerts. It was in the days of the old pump organs, so in each town, he hired a boy to work the pump behind the organ during the concert. After a performance in one town, he couldn't shake the young boy he'd hired.

As the organist walked towards his hotel in the cool of the evening, the boy beamed up at him. "We sure had a great concert tonight, didn't we?" “You mean I had a great concert tonight," replied the maestro. "You only pumped the organ. Now, go home!"

The next night, the organist gave another concert in the same town. And, once again, the boy worked the bellows behind the scenes. The opening piece of the concert was a beautiful fugue by Bach. But as the performer masterfully attacked the notes of the second piece, the music suddenly stopped, his rapid fingering bringing nothing more than a faint clicking sound from the keyboard. That's when the little boy stuck his head around the corner of the organ, smiled, and said to the maestro, "We aren't having such a magnificent concert tonight, are we?"

Thank God for the people in our lives of significance and value, the unsung heroes, and our transportation agents, who support us but don't get the accolades. My wife, Becky, is a perfect example. As a pastor and speaker, I receive accolades and recognition. She has a more demanding job. She puts up with me. The truth is, I may be the flame thrower, but God and Becky are the fuel. I'm telling you, Becky, and our kids, are spies sent from God on me. And they are very proficient at their assignment.    

Here is a word of encouragement for you 'guides by their side.' Jesus said in the Beatitudes, "Blessed are the gentle, or humble, for they shall inherit the earth." In other words, the crowd may not know who did the work, but God does. So wait until you see who gets the accolades in heaven.

Here’s your takeaway. Maybe there is a behind-the-scenes person or persons who, without any call for attention, have worked tirelessly to help you, the turtle, get on that fence. Maybe it's your spouse, kids, staff at work, counselor, teammates, or someone else. Thank them. Give them some accolades now. But please, don't make your transportation agents wait for sincere words of thanks and kudos until they get to heaven. If you make their day, you’ll make your day. 

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com