Thoughts on Not Wasting Your Life

Living a meaningful life – it’s about living life with a single passion for God and displaying His excellence in all spheres of your life.  John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life and the related Bible study as well as the Lecrae song by the same name have been a favorite theme of mine over the last six years.  It’s about not living life on trivial diversions or living for comfort and pleasure. It’s about not living a life that counts for nothing.  We are to live with a war-time mentality, risking our lives to make the treasure of the Gospel known.  When we reach the end of our lives, we don’t want to say “I’ve wasted it”. 
If I continually ask myself if I’m living a meaningful, unwasted life, I often feel like I’m failing.  I’m not leading any Bible studies right now.  I’m not serving in any capacity in my church right now.  Sometimes I’m not even there for my friends or my family as I think I should be. I haven’t shared the good news of the Gospel with anyone lately.
Even though I want every minute of my life to count for something, to serve God wholeheartedly, my flesh can’t keep up.  My failure fills me with guilt.  While trying not to “waste” my life, I have caught myself succumbing to the following risks:
·        Doing too much – leading multiple Bible studies at one time until I burned out,
·        Focusing on what I am doing in the church more than who I am being in relationship to God and the people nearest me,
·        Serving to justify my own existence or to validate my worth.
If I sit down and watch Funniest Home Videos on TV, am I wasting an hour of my life?  Maybe.  Maybe God nods and says it is good to sit and relax and laugh a little bit.  But maybe sometimes He is telling me to just be with Him instead.  If I ask Him in the moment, I think He will lead my heart.  The key would be in remembering to ask Him.
On the other hand, Ken Gire has challenged me to think about the whole concept of evaluating a wasted life.  Sometimes to understand the life we have lived, we need time to “sort through all the memories, to re-mat them with perspective, reframe them with forgiveness, hang them in a place where they catch the light just right so they can be seen the way they were meant to be seen” (Relentless Pursuit, 143).
The thief on the cross surely felt he had wasted his life when he came to realization of who Jesus was and put his faith in Him.  But who knows how many people are in heaven now through the example of the thief and realizing that yes, they can make the decision on their death bed to put their faith in Christ.  My grandfather is one of them.
So how do I live my life so that it is not wasted, without continually evaluating and being consumed with guilt that I’m not doing more?  I’m still trying to figure out the answer to that, but at the moment I think the key to the answer is in I Corinthians 10:31 (and Colossians 3:23), whatever you do, in your work, in your rest, in your relationships, in your finances, in your parenting, in your church, in what you eat and drink, in every single thing that you so, do it to reflect and display God’s greatness and to show you treasure Christ.

Linking up with Finding Heaven.


  1. I've been curious about this John Piper book for a while, and I can relate to your question about just how much we should be doing. I always remember a quote from a John Ortlund book on Spiritual Disciplines. He said, "sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just to take a nap." (when we need rest!)

    I'm pretty sure you're not wasting your life just by the questions you're asking!

    1. Your quote of John Ortlund made me laugh! The overall message of Piper's not wasting your life is a a really good one. You make a great point in your last sentence - thanks!

  2. I so needed to hear the message in this post today! I too think about how I use my time a lot. And sometimes I struggle with feeling guilty for not doing more for God.

    Burn out is something I've experienced from time-to-time. And God has been teaching me that He is pleased with who I am in Christ, not necessarily by all I do.

    I think, when we love someone we do what pleases them. We seek to do what pleases them. And I believe that our relationship with God is the same. If we keep Him first in our lives, then no matter what we do we will seek to please Him.

    Even in the Bible there are many moments, years even, of the lives of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Ruth, and Esther that we don't know about. Maybe because nothing truly spectacular happened in that time. But that doesn't mean they disappointed God or "wasted" their lives.

    Sometimes I believe it is possible to glorify God by just enjoying the normal days we are given.

    God bless you as you continue to seek Him!

    Philippians 3:13