Books: "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper

"God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.”
–John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

Months ago, a reader made a comment on one of the entries that I posted. He quoted an excerpt from an old book by John Piper entitled Don’t Waste Your Life. I thought it was a very appropriate excerpt for this blog especially as we wrestle with simplifying our lives so that we can do the things that greatly matter to God. By doing the things that greatly matter to our Lord, we’ll ensure that we don’t end up wasting our lives. I’m going to post the excerpt here which becomes a great plug for the book itself (it’s also part of the book’s official press release). Get yourself a copy and don’t waste your life.

I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the 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 Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper, p. 45-46)

In the same way, we must protest that kind of living. God has given us a set amount of time to live in this world and we shouldn’t be wasting it on frivolous things that ultimately don’t matter in the end. There are certain things that God calls us to do and we must act upon them quickly for our time here is short. These things include loving God completely, serving others sacrificially, and embarking on the Great Commission. You don’t want to come to the end of your life and approach the throne of God with only vacation photos, fancy cars, and large houses to show for. What a tragedy that would be. And it’s a tragedy because God has called us to so much more than that.

Piper’s book will help place you in the proper frame of mind to utilize your one and only life well. Hopefully, you’ll begin to simplify various parts of your life so that you can use your limited time, energy, and resources for the things that greatly matter to God. Let’s not waste our lives.