All Hat

Texans who own no land have cattle.  Strange as this may sound, for many, it is a part of the culture of the area and indispensable in their minds.  Maybe it’s a link to the old west, but some see it as a thing they ought to do as if living up to a birthright.  Let alone the fact that it is hard to make money in cattle (unless you have a lot), such find pleasure and a form of recreation in the care and knowledge of their “herd.”  It could be that it’s sorta like having a garden.  In our area, people will expend money and self to grow vegetables they could more easily get in a store and spare their families and friends the complaining.  See, the activity is its own reward and a reminder that there is something other than the common work-a-day world.

We know people by their outfits.  Now, just because you are wearing White Stag doesn’t mean someone will say, “I see you’re a Walmart man,” because anyone can do that, but some apparel is so specific that it identifies the wearer.  However, we may dress as we wish to be perceived or as custom (not reality) dictates.  In Tennessee, we don’t smoke corncob pipes in honor of our forebears, but the Texan will wear the hat (as will some Tennesseans).  For most, the hat is not more than a fashion statement, but it is a tool for some and betrays vocation and volition.  A poser will be said to be “all hat and no cattle.”  The appearance does not match the actions and don’t call him a cowboy until you’ve seen him ride. 

Appearances are important, but there is more to life than the apparent.  Trying to find work in the Depression Era, my deceased father-in-law bought tools to enter the construction field. Not wanting to seem a novice, before confronting a potential employer, he traded his new tools for the old implements of a seasoned worker.  The deal was mutually beneficial as the older man received an upgrade; Clarence got the job and became a skilled craftsman.  How you look is important but achievement is more so, and potential is not productivity.  Teams wear uniforms, and everyone is number one before the contest.  There is no accurate measurement for heart and the will of the soul.  We know them when we see them.

God told Samuel that people look at the outward while He considers the inward.  It is true that Scripture states in other places that presentations are important, but the great and oft- repeated principle is that the important thing is what’s inside.  Jesus chided religious leaders in His day for their superficial practices and told His followers to do their good in secret.  Nothing is unobserved by God and nothing can be hid.  All around us we see flashy and fanciful works done in the name of the Most High as if His power and blessing were dependent on dollars and cents.  David wanted to build a house for God but was told that no habitation would be sufficient.  The Almighty wants sincerity, and we can’t do God’s work for Him.

In the search for service, production is important, but so is purity.  We cannot say we are serving God unless we are having results.  At the same time, our motivations and employments matter in His sight.  One may be more or less than the other, but we are to be other in God’s sight than superficials.  Honest efforts will bring outcomes of some type though the exact nature of same is not in our hands.  It is a very human tendency to focus on the outside because that is what people see, and we live in a judgmental world.  Truthfully, while they are worthwhile, many pursuits do not fulfill their promise and disappoint the striver.  It is nice to be noticed, even applauded, but the goal of the purist is to be found the genuine article.


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