I am currently reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper.
I have two words for this book:
I bought this book in 2004 shortly after it was published. Usually I soak up Piper's writing like a sponge, but this time it was difficult for me to find interest. I read a page here and there, skimming chapters and setting it aside for months at a time.
Last June I decided to read it... or at least try again. This time it was like water to a thirsty soul, milk for a crying baby, paint for a painter, oil for a mechanic... ok, well, you get the idea.
It was EXACTLY what I needed to read.
The job at American Family Insurance, although I loved what I did and who I worked with, was not filling my deep passion for missions. My heart was in a far off place and my mind said, "You are wasting time." For several years I pleaded with God to give me the desire of my heart to serve Him in missions. I volunteered here and there, taking trips, researching and going to classes. Still, I longed for something more.
In October, my family was at a crisis point financially. Dad had been without a job for almost a year. We were dipping into savings to pay the mortgage. My job at American family was strictly part-time and not pulling in enough to cover what we needed. Therefore, we began discussing the need for me to find a full-time job.
All the while I am reading Don't Waste Your Life. My plea deepens with God as I beg, "PLEASE, God, I do not want to work full-time and waste my life! I know we need the money, but I want missions. I want to furhter the name of Christ AND get paid to do it!" An impossible request in my mind at that time. I am sure God was smiling as He replied, "Just wait."
During this time my dad had applied for a regional manager position at an organization called Initiative360. As he discussed the job with the recruiter she inquired, "The HR manager at Initiative360 met your daughter this spring and was wondering if she needed a job." At first we thought it was a joke. It was not. They could not hire my dad, but had a matrix job to offer me with Initiative360 and OMF International. (See previous posts here and here and here!)
I began the initial stages of talking with the recruiter. I created a resume, filled out an application and waited. Several options began pouring in, non of which seemed to fit what my family was needing: raise my own support, a student stipend, etc. I needed a full-time job that would help pay the bills. Period. Missions organizations are not known for their pay, but I knew that God would provide what I needed when I needed it.
I was ready to turn the job down with the information I had been given when I talked with the recruter one more time. "So, if I understand this correctly, I will be making $-,--- and can raise my own support above and beyond that?" "Oh, no," she answered, "you will be getting a salary that is $-,--- a month." Now I had to reconsider everything from a positive perspective!
Was it a reality that I could make this money AND work for a missions organization? Was this money enough for what my family needed? Could I leave my job of seven years and dear co-worker Katie? What about the 45 minutes drive, extra gas and long hours?
All the while God is prodding my heart and reminding me, "Jaclyn, why do you quesiton with human logic when you KNOW this is a direct answer to the prayers you have prayed the last 3 years? Did you think that there would not be some kind of cost and sacrifice involved? Take this job. You will not be wasting your life..."
So, here I am, reading Don't Waste Your Life again and I am reminded of God's faithfulness to me as well as my journey of spiritual growth last fall. I am where He wants me to be and it is such a wonderful reality. I am amazed at how He answered my prayers- financially and spiritually!
My favorite chapters in Don't Waste Your Life are five and nine. Here are the chapter titles:
5. Risk is Right- Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It
9. The Majesty of Christ in Missions and Mercy- A Plea to This Generation
First, I have to say, ONLY John Piper can have chapter titles like that!
Second, you want to read the book now, I am pretty sure.
Third, don't waste your life.