Don’t Waste Your Life

The following are excerpts from John Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life,” which talks about the tragedy of living a life with no purpose, and without a passion to display the supreme excellence of God in all the spheres of our lives. We can easily slip by in life without a passion for God.

     The opposite of wasting your life is living by a single God-exalting, soul-satisfying passion. The well-lived life must be God-exalting and soul-satisfying because that is why God created us. […] The opposite of wasting your life is to live by a single, soul-satisfying passion for the supremacy of God in all things.
How serious is the word “single”? Can life really have that much “singleness” of purpose? Can work and leisure and relationships and eating and lovemaking and ministry all really flow from a single passion? Is there something deep and big enough and strong enough to hold all together? Can sex and cars and work and war and changing diapers and doing taxes really have a God-exalting, soul-satisfying unity? [..]
     You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don’t need to have a high IQ. You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things- or one great all-embracing thing- and be set on fire by them.
      You may not be sure that you want your life to make a difference. Maybe you don’t care very much whether you make a lasting difference for the sake of something great. You just want people to like you. If people would just like being around you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have a good job with a good wife, or husband, and a couple of good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and a quick and easy death, and no hell- if you could have all that (even without God)- you would be satisfied. that is a tragedy in the making. A wasted life.
     I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t Tragically this was the dream: Come to the end of your life- your one and only precious, God-given life- and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That  is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.
[Excerpt from p. 43-46]

1 Thessalonians 2:4
“but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God, who tests our hearts.”
The most tragic thing for me would definitely be to look back on my life and see that it all went to waste. I want to live a life with purpose and passion, one that clearly points to Jesus. My hope is that one day He will look upon me with his gentle, loving eyes and say “Well done, my good and faithful daughter.” Is this also your hope? If not, I challenge you to it!


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