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A few years ago I woke up, brushed away the cobwebs, and laid eyes on a book sitting on a shelf next to my bed:

Don’t Waste Your Life.” {by John Piper}

I had read the book awhile back. But this time those words jumped off the page and cut right to my heart.

I hated them, but I loved them at the same time. I wanted to read them again, but then I didn’t.

There they were again—“Don’t. Waste. Your. Life.”

I hated them because I knew I had probably wasted some of my life. But I loved them because I knew I had more life to live.

I thought about how much time I wasted worrying and fretting and stressing about what others thought of me. Do I measure up? How can I win their approval?

I even thought about the number of people I could’ve helped, but for some reason I didn’t.

Friends, we have one life to live. How are we living it?

To put this in perspective, Jesus tells a story in Luke 19:12, “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them each one mina. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.

Jesus is the nobleman. We are the servants. And He has graciously given each of us one mina “to put to work.” And He is going somewhere and when He comes back, we will give a report to Him about what “we had gained with it” (19:15).

In other words, Jesus came, went, and will return again someday. In the meantime, He’s entrusted us with time and treasure and talents. One life to live. How will we use what He’s given us? How can we not waste our life?

#1. When we invest our time in others, we don’t waste our life.

How do we spend our time? Do we live for others or for ourselves? Ben, my mentor in college, spent a significant amount of time with me. Ping Pong and lunches and football and long conversations about life, leadership, and love. God gave him a mina. And he invested it in me.

#2. When we invest our treasure in others, we don’t waste our life.

How do we spend our money? Do we invest it in others or do we hoard it for ourselves? A family member heard my dream to attend seminary and be a Pastor. Thanks to his generosity, I received my Masters three years later and have lived my dream for thirteen years. God gave him a mina. And he invested it in me.

#3. When we invest our talents in others, we don’t waste our life.

How do we use our natural abilities? Do we advance our own cause or help the cause of others? My friend Chris is an excellent and talented preacher. When he could have been protective of the pulpit, he graciously provided opportunities for me to preach. Thanks to his humble heart, I have grown as a communicator and am prepared to use this talent to advance the Gospel. God gave Chris a mina. And he invested it in me.

Back to the Scriptures, we learn that only one of the servants returned with a good report: “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’”

Allow the master’s response to shower over you like a refreshing waterfall: “‘Well done good servant!’ his master replied” (19:17).

Deep in the depths of our being, whether we realize it or not, those four words are what we all want to hear.

So whether you’re a stay-at-home Mom or banker or teacher or student or empty nester or artist or athlete or senior citizen. You want to hear: “Well done good servant.”

The Nobleman has given us a mina. One life. With talents and treasures and time. And someday He will return.

How will we use our mina? What kind of report will we give Him?

Will our head hang low in shame or will it be tilted high in joy?

Here’s our hope as believers: Regardless of how much life we’ve wasted, we serve a God who loves and forgives and provides endless chances.

We can trust in the One who looks past our past to rescue our future.

We can fall in love with the One who didn’t waste His life away but who gave His life away—for me. For YOU!

We can follow the One who invested His time, treasure, and talent to redeem us, a lost people.

Finally, may our lives be driven by those four strong words:

“Well done good servant.”

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