Plant sprouting in the desertThere is a joy that is real.  It is more solid and more lasting than the brief pleasures we may experience.

But there is a warning.

“[It] will cost you your life. Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.”

John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

What do you want your life to be about?  When you are gone, what do you want to have left behind?  What kind of impact?

A label in a company that doesn’t exist anymore?

A plastic trophy that collects dust I’m the attic, and ends up left over at a garage sale?

Someone’s opinion who will be dead too?

Technology that will be so obsolete it will be embarrassing to talk about?

Is it possible to waste our life?  There’s no way to be neutral or opt out of this question.

Sad waste

There is a way to waste our lives, and that’s by living as if this life were our only life.  In reality, this is a blink… a whisp of smoke… a drop in the ocean… compared to the great majority of our existence that will happen after we die physically.  Are the things in this list categorically bad?  Most of them are not.  But they are all a sad waste of a life when they are done with only this life in view…

  1. entertainment
  2. living for your family
  3. doing things to earn God’s love
  4. using people
  5. sacrificing for your career
  6. getting high
  7. studying
  8. even serving can be a waste

Joyful waste

This kind of spending yourself isn’t really waste, actually.

Only one life
Will soon be past
Only what’s done for Christ
Will last

C.T. Studd

And even better, as Moses said in one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 90…

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (NIV)

So why wait?  What amazing opportunities God has given us in Christ to store up true, lasting joy.  First, in a relationship with Him who is the treasure greater than all the universe.  And then, in response to His love, reaching out in love to others.