Monday, July 22, 2013

The Wasted Day

James Boswell was an 18th century writer whose most well-known work was his biography of Samuel Johnson.  Throughout Boswell's life he suffered from depression, a condition that he inherited from his father, Alexander Boswell.

In the midst of his depression, James would often talk about the most special day in his life; a day that stood out more than any other day; a day that was brighter in his mind than any other day; a day that he could point to and say that it was the best day of his life; a day that transformed him into the man he would become.  The specific date of this day, the day of the week, and the year were burned into his brain.

This day was the day that his father spent time with him.  His father, a busy man, took one whole day and went fishing with his son.  As an adult, James would describe this special day as being a day bathed in sunshine; a day of blue sky and cool breezes; a day of joy and peace and comfort, free of worry.  He would quote to his friends the things his father said to him that day and refer to the lessons that he learned while fishing next to his father.  His friends would say that "to know James Boswell was to know about that fishing trip and the significance it held for him."

Long after Boswell's death, a 20th century researcher, who was writing a book about Boswell, discovered that Boswell's father kept a journal most of his life.  The researcher, curious to know the thoughts of Boswell's father about that fishing trip, secured a copy of his journal and opened it to the date of that fateful day.  To his surprise the page was blank with the exception of one lonely sentence.  It read:

"Gone fishing today with my son; a wasted day."

James Boswell's father had no idea of the importance of that fishing trip.  In fact, to him it was a waste of time.  Yet, to James it was the most important event of his life; more important than any of his awards or achievements.

How tragic it is not to know the depth of our impact on others.  How many days have we spent doing things we thought were insignificant?  How many times have we felt inconvenienced by someone else?  How many days have we felt frustrated because our plans for our day were interrupted by someone asking a favor?

From our perspective these days may not have amounted to very much.  We may have thought them a waste of time.  But unknown to us someone's life may have been altered through our involvement or by something we said, or by a smile we gave.  You see, God never wastes a day.  We can be sure that He is using us even on the most ordinary days; days that may be more significant than any other day of our entire lives.