I have read a lot of good books in my life but I just finished one that will quite possibly be one of my top favorites for the rest of my life: Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper was so convicting. Many times I read a book and think oh that was good or encouraging but this one at times made me cry b/c I was under conviction. I hope that my life is forever changed and I will now make much of Christ with my every breath. If I could challenge you all to read a book it would be this one. I want to quote some of the last chapter which is a prayer written by Piper.
"Oh, what a grand design! To make our joy the echo of your excellence. To make our pleasure proof that you now hold the place of Treasure in our lives. To make the gladness of our souls the essence of our worship, and the mirror of your worth. To make yourself most glorified in us, O God, when we are satisfied in you. How could I, Lord, have ever been so blind to think that being loved by you means making much of me and not yourself? How could I put my eye to some great telescope, designed to make me glad with visions of the galaxies, and notice in the glass a dim reflection of my face and say, 'Now I am happy, I am loved'? How could I stand before the setting sun, between the mountain range and the vastness of the sea, and think that everlasting joy should come from making much of me?
No, Father, love is this: AT great expense you made yourself my glory and my boast. The cost was infinite by which you made yourself the Treasure of my life. You sent your Son, the blazing cneter of your beauty and your love. You gave him up to mockery, betrayal, thorns, the whip, the rod, the fists, the nails, the shame, and death. For what? To swallow up your wrath, and satisfy your righteousness, and bury all my sins as far as east is from the west and in the deepest sea, so that I might come home and see the galaxy. This is your love, O God, not to make much of me, but do whatever must be done so that I waken to the joy of making much of you through all eternity.
How then shall Christ not be my only boast! Not only that he bought yourself for me, O God, but is himself your perfect image and the blazing center of your radiance. What do I have that does not come from him? What gift of life or breath? What promise ever made did not receive its Yes in him? What one sweet thing, or hard thing you will soon make sweet, did I receive except that it was purchased by his blood? Not one thing I deserve, but hell. Yet everything is mine in him, and by his sacrifice alone. O god, forbid that I should ever boast save in the cross of Christ my Lord."
"...Forbid O Lord, that while the world is filled with need we would sit down and say, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be mreey.' A terrible reversal awaits such lovelessness...O God, such riches are a wasted life. Protect us, Lord. Grant us to hear and heed another call: 'Lay up your treasure not on earth, but in the place where moth and thief will never come. Make treasures for yourself that cannot fail.' But then we ask, 'What treasures, Lord?' We see you smile. 'I am your Treasure and your great Reward. I am your food, your drink, your festal garments and your everlasting gain. I am your life and your allsatisfying Joy."
"...O Father, grant your church to love your glory more then gold-to cease her love affair with comfort and security. Grant that we seek the kingdom first and let the other things come as you will. Grant that we move toward need and not toward ease. Grant that the firm finality of our security in Christ free us to risk our homes and health and money on the earth. Help us to see that if we try to guard our wealth, instead of using it to show it's not our god, then we will waste our lives, however we succeed."
"...Let every wavering heart remeber this: You promised, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So may we say with death-defying confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'"
"...Let love flow from your saints, and may it, Lord, be this: that even if it costs our lives, the people will be glad in God. 'Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the naitons be glad and sing for joy.' Take your honored place, O Christ, as the all-satisfying Treasure of the world. With trembling hands before the throne of God, and utterly dependent on your grace, we lift our voice and make this solemn vow: AS God lives, and is all I ever need, I will not waste my life...through Jesus Christ, Amen."
I hope that maybe reading these exerpts will wet your appetite for reading this book and seeing what it means to not waste our lives as Christians. I plan on re reading this book each year to remind myself of my purpose in life...to make much of God...to find my joy in Him alone...to make him my Treasure above all other earthly treasures!