The Pastor's Pen

A Wasted Life


Have you ever read John Piper’s book, “Don’t waste your life”? If you are one of the few who have not, you should. In the opening pages he shares a sad, stirring story, of a retired couple. 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 Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler(boat), 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, especially young Christian people, slip by in life without a passion for God. That’s not to say they don’t have passion, but mostly, that passion is for worldly things like, music, movies, television, friends, family, sex, food, studies, computers, cars, bikes etc, and sadly spend their lives on insignificant pastimes, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. To often we get caught up in a life that counts for nothing and end up wasting our lives. If you are born again (a true Christian who has repented of their sins and embraced Christ in faith) and believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, then our lives have to make an impact for the glory of God. Do you live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and make the glory of God your singular passion?

Jesus said to His disciples in John 4:34 “…My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work.” In this passage, after a long day with Jesus, the disciples leave him at a well, to go find some dinner in the city of Samaria. When they arrive back with the food, Jesus says; No thanks, I am full. I’ve been eating. My food is to do the will of my Father and to accomplish his work. I just spent the last half hour talking to a Samaritan woman about her need for salvation. And I’ll tell you, brothers, I am full.

Jesus Christ had wrestled with the soul of a prostitute and brought her to saving faith in Himself, that was such an exalting joy to Him that He could say it’s like food and drink. My weariness is gone. My thirst is gone. My hunger is gone. I’m satisfied. My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me and to finish His work.” What did He feast on? The will of God. Our Lords’ passion was to make the glory of God real in the lives of people he met – yes, even prostitutes. To reconcile people to His Heavenly Father through his sacrificial work he would perform for them on the cross of Calvary.

All through the gospel of John, Jesus says, “For I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” John 6:38. In John 8:29 “And He that sent Me is with Me, the Father hath not left Me alone for I do always those things that please Him.” In John 10:18, He says, “I’m laying down My life of Myself, I have the power to lay it down, and take it up, this commandment have I received of My Father.” Then He climaxes it in John 17:4 when He is on the cross and says to the Father, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.”

You know what occupied the whole life of Jesus Christ? The will of God. God’s will in His life. And you know, He’s a great example to us of what our lives should be, isn’t He? Our lives should be the will of God, constantly never ending, always doing the will of God.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven for the last time he left his disciples a command which we call the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

What do you feast on? When last did you share the gospel with somebody? When last did you share with an unbeliever about the wonderful saving work that Jesus has accomplished in your life? Is it wonderful to you? Do you cherish and love the gospel? Are you thankful for what Christ has done in your life, or does music, movies, television, friends, family, sex, food, studies, computers, cars, bikes etc, take the first position in your life? Would you rather talk about these things, than Jesus Christ? Are you ashamed of the gospel and of Jesus?

Let me finish with a true story about Mahatma Gandhi, from his book, “My experiments with Truth”. He says, while in South Africa, “I came in contact with another Christian family. At their suggestion I attended the Wesleyan Church every Sunday. For these days I also had their standing invitation to dinner. The church did not make a favourable impression on me. The sermons seemed to me uninspiring. The congregation did not strike me as being particularly religious. They were not an assembly of devout souls, they appeared rather to be worldly –minded people, going to church for recreation and in conformity to custom. Here at times, I would involuntarily doze. I was ashamed, but some of my neighbours, who were in no better case, lightened the shame. I could not go on like this, and soon gave up attending the service.”

What a shame. What a tragedy. What a difference it would have made if the Mahatma went to a church passionate for Christ and His glory, instead of a dead, nominal church. Suppose someone from that church had taken the time to share the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ to Mahatma Gandhi, can you imagine what an impact that would have had on India, for the glory of God?

We need to ask the hard questions – how many of our own churches are full of “un-devouted souls and worldly minded people”? How many of us go to church for recreation and because of custom or tradition? How many so-called ‘Christians’ have no passion for God or little interest in pursuing His will for their lives? How many of us are simply religious and have no relationship with Jesus? How many of us church going Christians will stand before our creator at the judgement seat of God after our life on this earth and say “Look, Lord. See my shells”, or “Look, Lord at my DVD collection”, or “Look, Lord at how much RAM my computer has”?

Hebrews 9:27 tells us “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. Jesus said in Matthew 10:33 “..whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”. We have one life to live, let us not waste it. Let us make much of Christ in every sphere of our life. Let our food be to do the will of God our father. Let us use every opportunity we have to share the wonderful Saviour, who died for our sins, (that we should have paid for) so we could enjoy eternal life in heaven with Him-our resurrected Lord. Let us live to hear Jesus say ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.”

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