Book Review: Don’t Waste Your Life

July 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm 3 comments

“I will tell you what a tragedy is,” writes John Piper. “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.”

I pray to God that we will never stand before Him, forced to account for our lives, and realize we’ve squandered them. Like Piper, I cannot imagine anything more awful or tragic.

But if we do not want to waste our lives, what does it look like to live them well, and successfully – not by the world’s terms, but by our Creator’s? What does it look like to fulfill the purpose for which we have been made?

These are the questions Piper answers in this book. He pleads with us to wake up, to realize that life is a precious gift and one to be used wisely and intentionally, not taken for granted. He gives us a vision of the life that is lived to glorify God – lived in such a way that all the world can see that He is our true treasure and love. A life that is spent, in Piper’s words, “making much of God”. This is the life that is gloriously successful.

He touches on all parts of our lives in this book – from pain and suffering, to risk, to the plain ordinariness of daily life, and what it means to glorify God in each of those circumstances. One part of this book that I especially loved was Piper’s affirmation of “secular work”, and the acknowledgement that great work is done for God by the way we live and work, and not by any particular job title or description. Indeed, it is absolutely imperative that God’s people work in all areas – as businessmen and artists as well as missionaries and pastors. And he shows us the beautiful partnership that should exist between the church and the mission field. All of us are called to have a heart for missions, but not all of us are called to be the front-line workers. There must be “senders” and “goers”, and both are equally important.

Piper also reminds us that we live in wartime. We cannot float complacently through life, or we will indeed waste it. We must realize that we are part of something greater than ourselves, and a part of the greatest battle ever waged. And we must play our part; we must sacrifice and live for our King and his ultimate victory.

I will confess that this book is a bit difficult to digest in the beginning; I probably started it about four different times before I actually finished it. But it has an imperative and practical message for our lives, and it is well worth reading. Read this book to catch a vision for what your life could and should be – and how to live it.

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Entry filed under: books.

college things & who cares about well-rounded? Thursday thoughts

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jenna  |  July 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    That sounds like a good read!

    Reply
  • 2. Annie  |  July 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Jenna’s right – sounds like a must read! I’ll have to find a place to borrow or buy it.
    Thanks for your comment on my blog! Used books for $100? – totally ridiculous. My roommate gave me the textbook for this bio class we both have to take, and my section didn’t use that book, so I was going to have to pay $107 for a used copy! I ended up switching sections so I could use the text my roommate gave me. Can you believe how ridiculous that price is though? And being an English major is ridiculous because you buy a ton of little books for about nine dollars. Which is only cheap if you don’t add up the cost of buying about twenty of those! I have to buy two different versions of Hamlet this year – crazy, crazy.

    Reply
  • 3. Kris  |  July 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I’ve read this book . . .and loved it! You’re right, some of it is tough
    to digest, but well worth the effort!

    Reply

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