Knowing stuff matters, but not being a jerk matters more

I’m helping out at the National Sales Meeting for my old company this week, managing PowerPoint presentations and training the person who will be filling my shoes next year. And it’s amazing to me where God shows up. He makes Himself obvious to me in places where I don’t expect.

One of the general session presentations yesterday afternoon really struck a chord with me, on a level much deeper than numbers and statistics and sales figures. It was a presentation on the difference between aptitutde and attitude.

You see, aptitudes are gifts or talents you are born with. Attitudes are up to you to chose for yourself. Aptitudes can be taught, and attitudes can’t. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about your job, your family, your group of friends, your ministry, or whatever, your attitude matters more than your skillset.

bad-attitude_650Today’s verse is Daniel 1:8.

But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.

When the Babylonians invaded Israel, they selected lots of young people who were intelligent and trainable to learn Babylonian ways. Among those young people was Daniel, and Daniel realized he couldn’t change his situation. But when he realized the people ate foods dedicated to idols, foods that were against the law for Jewish people to eat, he asked permission to eat something else.

He could have gone about it another way. He could have just refused to eat the food he was given. After all, he was basically a prisoner. He’d been taken from his home and family. He had every right to be angry and upset. But instead he asked for permission.

See, Daniel was bright and smart, gifted, talented. He’d been selected because of his intelligence. He’d been chosen because of his aptitudes. But Daniel succeeded in Babylon because of his attitude.

You can be the most skilled employee in your workplace, but if you have a bad attitude, you won’t do very well. Maybe you’ll make it for a little while, but eventually you’ll lose your footing because it’s your attitude that matters.

Aptitude can be taught. You can always teach someone a new skill. But you can’t teach attitude. Attitude is something that you have to choose for yourself. The example used in this presentation yesterday was an alcoholic. You can tell someone he or she is an alcoholic over and over again, and they won’t believe you until they understand and realize it for themselves.

Knowing stuff is important, yeah. But not being a jerk is more important.

God has given you special skills and talents, and you should never take them for granted. But never forget that a skilled person that’s impossible to work with won’t ever accomplish much. God blesses you wiht talents, yes, but He blesses a good attitude abundantly.