Monthly Archives: March 2015

All Hat, No Cattle

charles-barsotti-all-hat-and-no-cattle

All hat, no cattle.
All talk, no walk.
All bark, no bite.
All chips, no queso.

If you want your work to be worship today, people can’t be describing you as ‘all icing, no cake’. For your work to be worship, it’s likely you’ll actually have to do the work.

If you want people at your workplace to listen to you when you speak about Jesus, they can’t think you’re ‘all shine, no apple’.  For your words to be effective, it’s likely you’ll actually have to do the work. (and do it well.)

There’s freedom in this. You don’t have to worry about evangelizing perfectly, or strategizing perfectly, or positioning yourself in the workplace perfectly. You just have to worry about being obedient to the things in front of you today.

But if you don’t want your work to be worship, or your coworkers to listen when you speak about Jesus… well then by all means go ahead and phone it in.

The way you see it

There’s this new thing going around the internet right now. It’s this big color controversy about a dress. You’ve probably never seen it. (hahaha just kidding of course you’ve seen it… it’s been everywhere.)

Anyways, this dress.

thedress-obvious

It’s just a dress.

But this picture of the dress.

thedress

People can’t agree what the color looks like. The internet is collectively losing its mind over this thing.

After seeing the picture, some people say it’s blue and black, some people say it’s white and gold. The people that say it’s white and gold don’t say that just because they feel like being contrarian. They SEE IT as white and gold. Same thing for people in the blue and black camp.

Maybe you see it one way or maybe you see it the other.

But here’s the thing – that dress is actually a specific color. Right? I mean, we live in a world where most things actually are a specific color (because light and pigment and refraction and eyes and rods and cones.)

Let me work this out for you: There is a dress of a specific color. The picture we have of that dress does an ambiguous job of representing that color. We see the ambiguous picture and our minds go, “Oh. I know what that is!” And that’s what we see.

The colors on the screen are the same for everyone. (A fact. Not up for argument.) It’s our perspective that makes the difference in what we think those colors are. (Obviously up for argument.) Two people can stand side by side, looking at the same picture, and see two different things.

But don’t miss this – the dress IS a specific set of colors. That’s not up for debate. It’s how we see those colors – how we interpret those colors and make meaning of them in our minds – that has spurred this fiasco. Tracking with me?

And that reality – that our perception of something determines what we believe to be true about it – is on display every day.

Here, I’ll prove it in two sentences: One time, I totaled my car. It turns out that totaling my car is one of the top three best events of my entire life. No joke.

Many people could easily say, “But you totaled your car! That’s terrible!”

Those people would be wrong. That event, while hard at the time, was far and away one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It seemed subjective at the time. It wasn’t.

Let’s look for some other examples. Let’s take a quiz. If you are a believer, which of the following events are good and which are bad? (Spoiler alert: if you’re a believer, they are all going to be good.)

  1. You get passed up on a promotion you deserve.
  2. You ace a presentation.
  3. You are late to work because of unexpected traffic.
  4. Your company goes out of business.
  5. You don’t get a job you applied for.

(Answers: 1.Good 2.Good 3.Good 4.Good 5.Good)

If you are a believer, everything (everything) everything is ultimately for your good.

You may not understand it. It might be painful. You may perceive it as bad. Heck, from a worldly perspective it might actually be bad. But for you, ultimately, it’s for good. That’s a promise from God himself.

And it’s just like the dress.

Like we did for the dress, let’s work this out together: There is an event and it has a specific meaning and purpose. Our picture of that event does an ambiguous or misleading job of representing the true purpose. We see the ambiguous situation and our minds go, “Oh. I know what this is!” And that’s what we experience.

The truth though, is that if you are a believer, every experience you have is for your good. (A fact. Not up for argument.) It’s your perspective that makes the difference in what you perceive the experience to mean. (Everyone will have an opinion. Many people will debate it.) Two people can experience the same thing and conclude it as either good or bad.

But don’t miss this – the experience HAS a specific meaning and purpose. That’s not up for debate.

It’s for your good.

This doesn’t mean everything you go through will feel good or be easy. But knowing that it’s all ultimately for your good allows you to rest easy and can give you massive peace if you let it.

Trusting that all things are for your good allows you to do crazy things like give thanks in all circumstances even if you find yourself like Corrie Ten Boom did: surrounded by fleas in a Holocaust work camp.

You can do crazy things like that when you start seeing the world for what it is: for your good. Everything in your life has an actual provable purpose, just like the dress is an actual provable color.

What would be different if you believed that?