Proverb for the Day 22:29 — I would rather be influential than important!

Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.

This verse is often referred to as the sixth “saying of the wise” (22:17). It’s about skilled, competent labor.
Beginning with a rhetorical question, it asks “do you see someone skilled in their work?”
The phrase “do you see” comes from the poetic Hebrew word often used for “visions.” I’ll suggest the writer is saying, “Can you imagine someone who…”

The person we’re to imagine is one “skilled in their work.” While coming from a word meaning “quick,” this “skilled” person is not to be understood as a quick-fix kind of guy or gal.

Instead, it describes an experienced, capable person who can quickly diagnose a problem and fix it right — the first time. No drama, no trauma!

If we can imagine such people, we should know that their “skills,” experience and competency won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. They’ll rise to a place of influence — “serve before kings.”
It would have been fine with me if this proverb stopped here — but a final line adds something this skilled person won’t be doing. “They will not serve before officials of low rank.” 
“Officials of low rank” comes from a single word used only this once in the Hebrew Bible. An obscure term — that’s actually what it means — obscure, low, nameless! Our competent, capable, experienced person won’t be laboring namelessly or in quiet obscurity
But, neither does the verse say our skilled worker will become rich, famous, important or powerful! It’s just that their talents will be recognized and appreciated — they’ll be able to make a difference wherever they serve.
Dr. Elmer Towns was my professor at Liberty University 150 years ago! I heard him frequently say his philosophy of ministry and service — “I would rather be influential than important!”
This proverb’s about that guy!