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February 24, 1997

All Hat, No Cattle

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Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than to pretend to be somebody and have no food. PROVERBS 12:9
Every now and then, you meet someone who makes a really good first impression on you, but when you get to know him better, you realize that what you saw was just that—an impression. When you start to scratch beneath the surface, you are disappointed to discover that he actually is a person of very little substance.
Then every once in a while, the situation is just the opposite. You meet someone who makes a really good first impression on you. You feel an immediate affinity. You want to spend time with him, and the more time you spend together, the more depth, goodness, and wisdom you uncover. The more you scratch beneath the surface, the more substance you find.
Our society puts far more emphasis on a person’s surface appearance than on his or her depth of character. But this proverb makes it clear that it’s better for us to be relatively unknown and solid in whom we are than to look like a big shot with no inner substance. It emphasizes the importance of being somebody of significance as opposed to just looking like somebody of significance.
This concept is probably more applicable in a work context than it is in any other setting. As followers of Christ in the marketplace, we need to work hard to develop depth of character. We need to sharpen our skills and continually upgrade our abilities so that when we are called upon to do something, we actually have something to offer.
People of true substance don’t need their own personal PR departments. They choose to leave the promotion up to God, because they recognize that in His eyes, they will always be somebody of significance.
Are you a person of substance, or are you “all hat and no cattle”?

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