I always find it interesting when someone takes credit for an idea. What about the idea was unique? Was it original or an adaptation from somewhere else? What is the individual is taking credit for?
I readily concede that one should take credit for the timing and application of an idea. Being able to identify opportunities to adapt lessons learned from others situations is a leadership characteristic. Knowing how to present ideas in a way that others understand the usefulness and potential is a special skill. However, great ideas often transcend time and place.
Life suggests that wisdom is far more universal than we realize. Wisdom can be found in any individual or community. It may take a time to discover, but it is there. The broader question I find myself wrestling with is the willingness to be open to more. For me, this often involves the following.
Great ideas have a source beyond individuals. When one speaks of Divinity and the power that comes from compassion and love, one may find inspiration in different teachers and mentors. Some would claim that they are the source. The blunt questions in response to this claim could be phrased in two parts. “Was Paul [name is arbitrary] crucified for you? Was a single one of you baptized in Paul’s name?” (1 Corinthians 1.14)
Not all great ideas are useful in all situations. I know this may seem to be common sense. The challenge comes when a good idea is presented as the solution for a time and place where it may not fit. How does one acknowledge it is a good idea while challenging the usefulness is a given context?
Growing involves making mistakes and learning from them. Listening to others is a way of letting Life teach you. Their experiences can help inform and guide. Their mistakes can be lessons that provide insight.
God offers us the chance to write our history. We have freedom within to choose. We can learn from others. God’s truths, compassion, love, community, are beacons we can use to guide our paths.