Jim was raised by a hardworking mom who worked two jobs to support her son and herself that lived in subsidized housing. She’d come home from her first job, as a cashier, and have dinner with him before going to her second job as a bartender. Every night, she’d tell him, “You can be so much more than I ever could; don’t waste your life.”
Jim was spurred on by his mother’s words. He studied hard in school, pushing for better and higher grades with every project, report and exam. He earned a full scholarship to a prestigious university, and graduated at the top of his class.
After school, Jim continued to find great success. He met a beautiful woman, got married, moved into a gorgeous house in the suburbs and eventually had a couple of kids, two girls.
He quickly rose through the ranks of his organization and was head-hunted by several others. He was a man driven to succeed, to provide for his family what his mother never could. He worked hard, taking on the most difficult assignments, and exceeding everyone’s expectations. He also volunteered his time in the community & at the homeless shelter and supported numerous charitable organizations.
All in all, it looked like he had the perfect life – he had done more than anyone could ever have imagined.
Jim came home one night and found the house was quiet. He looked all through the house for his wife and his daughters (as usual, it was well past their bedtime). He found an envelope in the kitchen; inside was a letter from his wife: She was leaving him and taking the children with her.
Jim fell to the floor, his hands trembling has he held the letter, tears streaming down his face… and at that moment, all he could hear were the words his mother had spoken so many times:
Don’t waste your life.
This is not my story, but it could have been.
Had Jesus not saved me, it almost certainly would have been.
If you’re reading this today and you know someone whose life looks something like this—maybe it’s even yours—remember that success is not how much money you have in the bank, how big a house you have, how hard you work or how perfect your life looks. It’s not about how much time and money you give to your church.
A life not spent sharing the simple pleasures—playing with your kids in the backyard, going for family walks, talking to your spouse on the couch, and just enjoying God’s greatness—is a life wasted.
So serve your church and work hard to the glory of God, but don’t neglect your family. Your first ministry is always to them. Enjoy time with your kids, and look for moments to teach them about God’s greatness. Spend time with your spouse and praise God for how He is transforming his or her heart and mind. Rejoice, laugh and cry together.
You only get one life.
Don’t waste it.