This is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a Christian during WWII who was hanged at a concentration camp at the age of 39 (in 1945, Flossenburg, Germany) for participating in the Protestant movement against the Nazi’s. His book The Cost of Discipleship along with John Piper’s Don’t waste your life were two books I tried to read in college, both of which were richly lost on my overfilled and distracted young mind.
I’m working my way through Piper’s Don’t waste your life and it’s challenging me in radical ways. Just want to share 3 ideas from the book this morning. the first is where the title of the book came from:
“For me as a boy, one of the most gripping illustrations my fiery father used was the story of a man converted in old age. The church had prayed for this man for decades. He was hard and resistant. But this time, for some reason, he showed up when my father was preaching. At the end of the service, during a hymn, to everyone’s amazement he came down and took my father’s hand. They sat down together on the front pew of the church as the people were dismissed. God opened his heart to the Gospel of Christ, and he was saved from his sins and given eternal life. But that did not stop him from sobbing and saying, as the tears ran down his wrinkled face-and what an impact it made on me to hear my father say this through his own tears-“I’ve wasted it! I’ve wasted it!”
Just as Piper’s response was one of fear and horror to think of coming to the end of his life having wasted it, Kevin and I have talked a lot about having a life that is worth something (so that we don’t come to the end of it feeling as though we wasted our precious days and weeks and years.) What does that mean? What does that look like? How can we NOT be stagnant in our faith?? I SO DO NOT WANT TO BE WASTED!! Our lives are but a mist. (James 4:14,”Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” So I’m reading this book, and this time around, it’s speaking to and feeding my hungry soul.
Part 2 that has deeply affected me this morning-Section entitled The Christ-Exalting Paradoxes of Life
“A life devoted to making much of Christ is costly. And the cost is both a consequence and a means of making much of him. If we do not embrace the path of joy-laden, painful love, we will waste our lives. If we do not learn with Paul the Christ-exalting paradoxes of life, we will squander our days pursuing bubbles that burst. He lived “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” (2 Cor 6:10) The Calvary road is costly and painful, but it is not joyless.”
Love that. Are you pursuing bubbles that burst? I can’t tell you how much my perspective has been starting to shift. It’s wonderful.
3rd quote from this book that you need to hear, “Can work and leisure and relationships and eating and lovemaking and ministry all really flow from a single passion? Is there something deep enough and big enough and strong enough to hold all that together? Can sex and cars and work and war and changing diapers and doing taxes really have a God-exalting, soul-satisfying unity? Now (referring to after this chapter) we see that every experience in life is designed to magnify the cross of Christ. Or to say it another way, every good thing in life (or bad thing graciously turned for good) is meant to magnify Christ and him crucified.”
“You want to be inspired? Please read this book. We only get one life. You may not get your “someday”. What will you do with your today?