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Don't Waste Your Life

This excerpt from John Piper's book Don't Waste Your Life urges readers to make their lives count for eternity by trusting in Christ. Explains that Jesus is God and that "life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross."

Don't Waste Your Life

That is what I heard in Dylan's song, and everything in me said, Yes! There is an Answer with a capital A. To miss it would mean a wasted life. To find it would mean having a unifying Answer to all my questions.

Here was an absolutely compelling road sign. Stay on the road of objective truth. This will be the way to avoid wasting your life. Stay on the road that your fiery evangelist father was on. Don't forsake the plaque on your kitchen wall. Here was weighty intellectual confirmation that life would be wasted in the grasslands of existentialism. Stay on the road. There is Truth. There is a Point and Purpose and Essence to it all. Keep searching. You will find it.

Asking for God's grace, he began by saying, "You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. You don't have to be smart, or good-looking, or from a good family. You just have to know a few, basic, glorious, majestic, obvious, unchanging, eternal things, and be gripped by them, and be willing to lay down your life for them."

The point of Piper's story and speech is not that everyone has to become a missionary in Africa to not waste their life. While God may call some people to work full-time for a ministry or church, most of us will be called to work in secular settings. And it is in the secular work settings that Christian men and women will bring God's love and forgiveness to coworkers who may never have stepped foot into a church.

Life roles are what we refer to as secondary callings. Typically, when people say they want to find my calling, they are referring to the life role, or secondary calling, of being a worker. Your secondary calling as a worker is essential to get right, as 60% of your life may be spent at work. But from God's perspective, all lifes roles, or secondary callings, are important. This can remind us not to be a workaholic. Because even when you love your work and feel it is your calling, you can waste much of your life if you are not intentionally living out the other secondary callings that God has given you, such as being a neighbor or parent.

3. Next, write down a dream or even a small action step to improve one of your secondary callings. Take this step and make it a goal by writing down the specifics of what you will do and immediately schedule when you will complete this step. For example, you may want a better relationship with one of your neighbors. One small step could be to invite your neighbor to go out for a meal together. To make this a goal, specify when you will invite your neighbor and write it down in your calendar or as a reminder in your smartphone. Doing this consistently and intentionally with your secondary callings will lead to a life well lived.

In his book, Don't Waste Your Life, Piper says, "God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives."

4. Piper says to not waste your life, you need to give God glory for every gift. As Christian career counselors, we know that includes learning about your skills, talents, interests, motivations, and personality traits. When you know these aspects of your God-given design, you can give God thanks for them and then make wise stewardship decisions to use those talents to make a difference in the world. You don't own those skills and gifts. Instead, God has called you to be a manager of them, as we see in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.

5. A wasted life is one that is self-absorbed and often focused on a well-funded retirement. This especially happens when people are in work that is not a good fit for them. And studies show that 70% of workers are emotionally disengaged from their work. Just putting in their days dreaming about retirement.

6. A life well lived is other-focused. It involves finding problems that a person is excited to help solve. It doesn't matter what age you are; there will always be needs around you that God is calling you to meet. God can meet all the needs in the world, but He chooses to parcel out to each of us enthusiasms to meet needs in the world. The term enthusiasm means "God in us." God has placed enthusiasm in each of us to meet specific needs in the world. When those enthusiasms are connected with your skills, talents, interests, motivations, and personality traits, you will find meaning, purpose, and calling in your life.

7. Finally, to avoid wasting your life, make a habit of taking risks and moving outside of your comfort zone. As we take steps out of our comfort zone, we experience growth and learning. Moving outside our comfort zone also increases our prayer life as we realize that we can't live our calling without God's power. This reminds us to keep our primary calling primary as we draw close to God and abide in Christ. Don't make the mistake of seeking comfort over your calling, choosing your fears over your faith, or choosing the American dream of many material things over the rewarding, fulfilling life of serving others and their needs.

God spoke through John Piper's message that day to change many people's lives. He challenged those students not to waste their lives through self-focus and the pursuit of the American dream. If you are a Christ follower, his message applies to you no matter your age.

Today can be the first day you draw a line in the sand and commit yourself to designing a well-lived life. A life that uses your best skills, addresses needs you have enthusiasm for, and results in one day hearing those words from God, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

In this best-selling book, John Piper makes a passionate plea to the next generation to avoid the dangers of a wasted life, calling us to take risks and make sacrifices that matter for eternity--with a single, soul-satisfying passion for the glory of God that seeks to make much of him in every sphere of our lives.

It's easy to slip through life without taking any risks without making your life count. But life ought not be wasted. You don't need to know a lot of things to make a lasting difference in the world, but you do have to know the few, great, unchanging, and glorious things that matter and be willing to live and to die for them.

John Piper's plea to a generation is, "Don't waste your life!" This book is a passionate call to make your life count for eternity. He acknowledges that there are risks for those who seek to make a lasting difference by faith, yet he believes that they are risks worth taking for the cause of the Gospel.

Yet, once you reach a certain age and look back on your life, you ponder (and perhaps regret) the immense opportunity costs of your past relationships and things you did. But, as we so painfully learn, not only is time nonrenewable, it is also not reversible. Such, as they say, is life.

Cherish and protect your time as it was the last food on Earth (though, like food, share it with those dearest to you).Know your values and priorities and always consider your time in their light.Make deliberate choices how you spend and use your time.And, yes, discriminate against people and activities who waste your time.

But whatever you do find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.

This book is a passionate call for this generation to make their lives count for eternity.John Piper acknowledges that the risks for those who seek to accomplish something in life--risks in relationships for the sake of righteousness and authenticity, risks with money for the cause of the Gospel, and risks in witnessing to the truth and beauty of Christ. Readers will find their passion for the cross of Christ enlarged as a result of reading this book.John Piper writes, "I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Reader's Digest: 'A couple 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. . . .' Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: 'Look, Lord. See my shells.' That is a tragedy."God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives."Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. This book will warn you not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing. It will challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God your singular passion. If you believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, read this book, learn to live for Christ, and don't waste your life! 041b061a72

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