The Significance of a Day

  • Pete Johnson
Blue Butterfly on the water

Have you ever wondered if anything you are going through or doing, actually makes a difference in the grand scheme of things?  Of course, we would all say that significant events in the world, such as wars, famine, pandemics affect the entirety of humanity. Some would argue that only famous people, rich people, lunatics, and politicians can affect world change. But can the seemingly mundane and “insignificant” courses of our daily lives, the not so famous, the not so rich folks, have any ability to affect the world?

If we are honest, most of us do not feel that the course of our daily lives is very significant on a global, national, or even local stage. “Who really cares about my daily routine?”  “What goes on in my life is insignificant compared to others.” Frankly speaking, most of us never give much thought to the significance of our “insignificant” lives. However, what may appear to be insignificant can very well be the catalyst for something extremely significant.

The Chaos Theory, is a field of study in mathematics, with applications in various fields of study including physics, engineering, economics, biology and philosophy, is the thought that a small-scale now change can result in a very large change later.  In 1972, mathematician and metrologist Edward Lorenz was credited with a related concept within this theory called the Butterfly Effect. Lorenz’s example of this concept was that a butterfly flapping its wings in a distant country had the potential to influence the path of a tornado in another country. In other words, small changes can make big differences, even if those events seem distant and insignificant.

In his 1925 autobiographical manifesto Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Adolf Hitler wrote that he aspired to be an artist in his youth. Moving to Vienna Austria to pursue this endeavor at the age of 18, he was rejected both times he made application to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, 1907 and 1908. Soon after he found himself absorbed with the anti-Semitic crowd in Vienna which many believe to be the beginnings of his hatred for the Jewish people.  

To the world in 1907 and 1908, even in Vienna, a young man not being accepted into the art academy would seem to be an insignificant event. Out of the 100 or so applicants that were accepted to sit for the entrance examination, only around 33 would make it. Yet this seemingly small insignificant event seems to have set the stage for the rise of the 3rd Reich and WWII. Bringing with it pain, heartache, death, and destruction.

Yet seemingly small insignificant events have also led to joy, peace, and life. Acts chapter 2 describes one such “insignificant” event.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven…” Acts 2:1–2a

Pentecost, the Greek word for the Jewish Feast of Weeks, was one of the three mandatory feasts required of Jewish men to participate in. This feast had been celebrated by the nation for thousands of years before this one in the book of Acts. To the Roman and Greek world this event was not significant at all, it was tolerated.  To many of the Jews, it was a requirement that went along with what you did as a religious Jew. For the 120 that were involved, this could very well have been just another service to attend because “we always do this”, nothing really significant about it. Were they really expecting something to happen from this seemingly insignificant feast? Jesus had instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the “promise of the Father” yet they had been waiting, and so for nothing, as a matter of fact; nothing significant had ever happened during this feast in their lifetime.

It would be much like asking you the reader, “This past Christmas, on Christmas Day or even on Christmas Eve, did you once think that this could be the day that Christ returns?” He told us he is coming back, we’ve been waiting. But for thousands of years many have been celebrating Christmas with little of no thought to its significance. Many attend church services regularly on Sunday mornings with little to no thought to the significance of their participation. We seem to live our lives with little to no thought to the significance of our daily routines.

In Acts, the word “suddenly” seems to convey how quickly a seemingly insignificant event can become significant. As we read further into the story, we know that Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirt, shared the life changing Gospel and 3,000 souls were saved. From this seemingly insignificant day, the gospel begins to change the entire world.

How do you view each day? Do you look at it as insignificant or do you look at each day as significant? On any given day someone who needs to see the gospel working in us may suddenly come across our path.  It could be the co-worker in the office, it could be the waiter or waitress, the barista, the person in the car in front of us who is slow getting through the light. It’s the fellow Christian who sees your faithfulness to God’s house. It’s your children and spouse who are encouraged and inspired by your walk with the Lord, day in and day out, no matter what is happening.  

It may not be you personally who changes the world for Christ. But if you view your day as significant, a day God has given you, no matter how mundane, you can be the catalyst that changes someone else’s world.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24