Many men I know struggle with priorities and balance. As they measure their passion for success considering God’s Word, they begin to question their perspective. Some highly successful business leaders have shared with me their personal stories about the price they paid pursuing what the world defines as being important. They reached the top of their profession only to find emptiness, loneliness, regret, and often deep grief for “time wasted.”
I admit, especially during the early years of parenting, I struggled with finding balance—and still do at times. As a young father I knew that the most important responsibility God had given me was being a godly father to the twin sons Louise and I had been blessed with. However, knowing what really counts doesn’t necessarily make setting appropriate priorities easy. I had to pray for wisdom and ways to effectively measure the impact of my life. God used the following story to challenge me regarding the time I set aside for my wife and sons.
James Boswell was a renowned Scottish author and lawyer who is best known for writing the biography of his friend Samuel Johnson. His biography is acclaimed as “the best biography ever written in the English language.” Boswell also kept a diary that he began writing at a very early age. In his diary, Boswell often refers to special days during his childhood when his father routinely took him fishing. As an adult, Boswell often thought back fondly on those times spent with his father and treasured the many things his father had taught him while they fished together.
Unaware of the Impact
Years later, a researcher took note of Boswell’s frequent mentions of his fishing trips with his father. The researcher knew that Boswell’s father had also kept a journal and wondered what his father had thought of their fishing excursions. But when the researcher found journal entries to that effect in Boswell’s father’s journal, all it said was, “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.” I find it somewhat tragic that what Boswell’s father took as wasted time, his son found unforgettable and rich with learning the lessons of life. How grateful Boswell was for his father’s attentions, even though his father was apparently unaware of how impactful those times were in the life of his young son.
Similarly, I can’t help but reflect upon the many days my boys and I enjoyed the early fishing season or a chance to water ski. Each adventure was a time of great conversation and bonding. If you’re spending more time trying to be important rather than doing what’s important—stop! Consider what really counts and reprioritize.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 2:1-15
Personal Application: What are your most memorable times your dad spent with you? Why are they memorable? If you’re a dad, what ways can you spend meaningful time with your children? If you’re not a dad, who could you invest your time in?
Wendell Morton and Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5