What’s a Wasted Life?
By Dawn Wilson –
A popular retro refrigerator magnet proclaims, “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.” From the looks of my house, I’m not wasting any time!
No, the truth is, everyone wastes time. A motivational video by performance artist Ze Frank used jelly beans to show the essence of time in our lives.
He used data from the American Time Use Survey (Department of Labor). The video’s narrator says the average American has approximately 28,835 days of life. A pile of jelly beans represented those days. A man extracted first one, then 364 candies for the first year of life. Then, 5,575 jelly beans represented the first 15 years from childhood to the threshold of adulthood.
The question was, what do we do with the remainder of our time?
Sleep equals 8,477 days; and eating, drinking and food preparation comes to 1,635. Work takes up 3,202 days, and we travel for 1,099 days. We watch television (or entertainment) 2,676 days. We spend another 1,576 days doing chores, tending to pets and shopping. Another 564 days, we care for friends and family. We spend 671 days grooming, bathing and visiting the bathroom.
We’re involved in community and religious activities or duties, charities, and taking classes for 720 days.
What’s left? Time “for laughing, swimming, making art, going on hikes, text messages, reading, checking Facebook, playing softball, maybe even teaching yourself how to play the guitar.”
But then the thought-provoking questions: “How much of (that remaining time) do you think you’ve already used up? If you only had half of it, what would you do differently? What about half of that? … What if you just had one more day?”
As a Christian, I’ve thought a lot about wasted versus purposeful living. I don’t think we’ll know we’re wasting life unless we consider what it means not to waste it.
In Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper wrote, “God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying His supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.”
It sounds like the opening words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
Enjoying God and displaying His supreme excellence are both crucial. Expressing joy without concern for God’s glory fails to give Him the honor He is due. We were created for His glory in all things (Isaiah 43:6-7; 1 Corinthians 10:31).