Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
We live in a society that is very materialistic and superficial. In the media, we are constantly shown images of "success" and "the good life", which triggers our imaginations of what life should be like, along with dissatisfaction with what we have. We begin to think, "If I only had this or that, I'd be happier."
Your neighbors get a new car, then you want one just like it or better. A co-worker shows off a new diamond ring, and you want a larger one. A friend buys a new house in a beautiful neighborhood, and you want one just like it. You gradually begin the cycle of "keeping up with the Jones” chasing an illusion of a better life.
But this illusion comes with a "real" cost...financial debt, relationships damaged by jealousy, and the discarding of things that still have value. Then later on you discover the truth: the Jones are in debt too.
This Proverb teaches us to value stability before image. Pretending to be “somebody” (the superficial) can come with a very real, high cost, i.e., no food in the house.
Is there an illusion that you are chasing? Are you trying to show the world that you are special based on the "stuff" you have? Make stability in your home and life a priority. Don’t go hungry chasing the Jones. Remember they are in debt too.