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November 23, 1996

Small but Wise

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Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; coneys are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crap; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. PROVERBS 30:24-28
Just because someone is small or seemingly insignificant doesn’t mean that he can- I not have an enormous impact in his world. Ants, coneys (or rock badgers), locusts, and lizards are practically invisible next to a majestic lion or a great bear. But they know how to function skillfully in their environment, and as a result, they are able to survive and thrive.
Ants aren’t strong, but they demonstrate incredible foresight by storing up food for winter. Rock badgers don’t have much power, but they are able to function and live in the most formidable of places—in inaccessible rocks. Locusts have no leader, but their unity allows them to mobilize, march, and conquer. And lizards, though small enough to be caught by someone’s hand, can slip easily into a place most of us will never enter—the palace of a king.
So what workplace encouragement can we find in the behavior of these tiny creatures? For starters, when you start feeling bad because your resume isn’t very impressive, persevere. Just as the ant faithfully prepares for winter, the work you’re doing now is setting the groundwork for your future roles.
When you find yourself powerless in an impossible situation, improvise. Like the rock badger, you also can survive under such circumstances.
When your department head abdicates her leadership responsibilities, encourage your coworkers to work together. Like the locusts, your group also can get things done without a leader.
Finally, next time you wonder if your efforts to stay out of the spotlight and not seek social acclaim are worth it, think of the lizard. Like him, you, too, may end up in the palace of a king (or in the corner office, or maybe even the Oval Office) someday.

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