Posted by: Anne | September 15, 2009

no such thing as wasted effort

In 1930, Pat O’Brien had a scene in a play The Up and Up in which he had to content with two angry people at once — a person on the phone and one at his desk. To him, playing that scene was “like fighting through Notre Dame’s football line while singing ‘Danny Boy.’” The play received mixed reviews and its outlook seemed dim. O’Brien thought, Why knock myself out on something with no future? But then a Bible verse echoed in his memory: “Whatever task lies to your hand, do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) And so, at every performance, he put his all into the scene, sometimes coming off stage wringing wet.

After the show closed, O’Brien went on to a few obscure parts. Then one day he received a phone call from a man who said, “Mr. Hughes is filming the play The Front Page and wants you in it.” O’Brien jumped at the opportunity.

The film’s director, Lewis Milestone, later told him why he was chosen. Milestone had gone to New York with friends, planning to see a hit show, but they were one seat short so Lewis went to see The Up and Up instead. He said, “One scene really impressed me — the one at the desk.” O’Brien’s outstanding film career was launched by his giving his all . . . for a part that had seemed worthless!

(Source: God’s Little Devotional Book)

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