Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review: Don't Waste Your Life

Hard to believe - two John Piper books within two weeks. Just coincidence really. Not a concerted effort. I discovered this little paperback in a new little uber-cheap thrift store nearby (books at .49 cents and a Nike winter jacket for Sean for only $2.70! Yah-rah!) and the title grabbed me. I know I'm not the only stay-at-home mother who sometimes wonders if I'm wasting my life by not really accomplishing more than raising a brood of kids. I wrestle with the grandiose vision of doing something that matters significantly (not to say that I don't put a high premium on the value of being there for my kids and the utmost importance of investing in their lives and futures).

I had never read any John Piper books before this year, although I am familiar with a famous quote by the author: "He [God] is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." Basically, this book is an affirmation of that concept. We waste our lives when we pursue anything other than the glory of God and, the flip-side, we make our lives count when we are wholly focused on bringing glory to God. This can be done in anything you pursue, whether it be publishing a book which impacts many lives, raising children who love God, or just fulfilling your obligations in a secretarial position where you do your work with an eye on glorifying God.

This book did two things for me. First, it affirmed that I'm not wasting my life because I haven't latched onto a publishing contract yet or done anything the world recognizes as significant. I can make my life count just by focusing on the One who created me. What a freeing concept! But secondly, the book challenged me to make my life count for more than it presently does. During the discussion on the time-waster that television is, I found myself wondering whether my extensive reading might also be seen as a time-waster. Perhaps, there are more valuable ways to spend my time. I don't know. Just a thought. The book also encouraged mission-mindedness (always a valuable endeavor and one I have been blessed with the opportunity to participate in, though not recently).

There were a few quotes (besides his hallmark one) which stood out for me:

"One of the reasons we are not as Christ-centered ... as we should be is that we have not realized that everything ... was purchased by the death of Christ for us. We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right. But the fact is that it is not ours by right. We are doubly undeserving of it. 1) We are creatures, and our Creator is not bound or obligated to give us anything - not life or health or anything. He gives, he takes, and he does us no injustice (Job 1:21). 2)... we are sinners... Therefore, every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day that the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is, for now, a free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgment."

"His beauty shines most brightly when treasured above health and wealth and life itself."

"If we only trust Christ to give us gifts and not himself as the all-satisfying gift, then we do not trust him in a way that honors him as our treasure. We simply honor the gifts. They are what we really want, not him."

I came away challenged to magnify Christ with my one, brief life! In that sense, the book fulfilled its purpose and I suppose John Piper made his life count for God! And now this little book can be placed in my stack of books for the Little Free Library at CBLI, so it may impact another life besides mine.

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