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Waste of the Worst Kind

Throughout my life, especially as I get increasingly closer to the other side than this one, God has been nudging me about how wasteful I am. I grew up with one of those mothers whose life ambition seemed to be to never waste anything. It was commonplace to recycle and reuse everything; from straws, to paper cups, to plastic containers, and to definitely any morsel of food leftovers. The younger folk made jokes of her constant pursuit to salvage what they flippantly discarded.

    One might think my mother an obsessive hoarder; yet, not so. Instead, her resourcefulness helped her stretch tight budgets, feed the needy, and faithfully appreciate and use the provisions of God wisely.

    While many experience painful conviction of their ongoing relapse into sins of choice, I am frequently reminded of my wasteful behavior. I buy what I don’t need, have too many of everything, throw away leftovers, and overspend for those I love. I look back and realize that if I had been more frugal, I would be out of debt with a big nest egg. I would have blest the needy more and been able to give to those souls struggling to survive.

    Yet, as I again throw myself at my Savior’s merciful feet, I admit my waste and plead for His once again forgiveness. His tender reassurance comforts and restores my soul.

    Just last night, following the Christmas hoopla, I scanned the house full of stuff and my dwindling bank account. I had a tender “come to Jesus meeting” concerning my waste. As I recognized His gracious forgiveness and encouragement to do better, I also realized His wise prompting to recognize the most disastrous kind of waste. It’s as if He had me review my life with its hurry-scurry endeavors or laid back pursuits of my own pleasure of the moment.

    He gently nudged me about wasted opportunities to make a difference that would affect eternity; wasted gifting and chances to fellowship and love on my Lord. Wasted precious moments that I could have been pursuing my true purpose and reason for being created in the first place: To love God and reflect His glory; wasted chances to make a difference in others’ lives that would bring a smile to my Father.

    Years ago a man I had met told me of a profound way to remind ourselves of the ever quickly passing of our lives. Ironically, this man had gained worldly success to later sink not only financially, but also in his walk with the Lord. While at the brink of his betrayal to God, he shared the following with me that I have shared with others ever since.

    The medical field has an average life expectancy for each gender. Currently, it’s about 78 for females and 75 for males. You subtract your years in age from that figure and then multiply that number by 52 (weeks in a year). I am 55. Thus, I subtract 55 from 78 and get 23. I multiply by 52 and get 1196. The number you end up with is supposed to represent how many weeks you have left to live, if you live an average normal life span. We may live beyond the average or die a much earlier death.

    Once we have our number, we take that many marbles and put them in a clear glass jar. Once a week, we take a marble out and reflect what we have done with it---that week. Were we full of bitterness? Were we intent on earthly matters? Did our week count for something worthwhile? Are we content with how we lived it? We must then discard the marble. No marbles go back in and each week, we have one less.

    As I found my number, thought of the marbles consistently reducing, I felt the urgency our Maker has repeatedly tried to get us to see.

    I don’t think I ever saw marbles the same. We all need some powerful wake-up moments. This was mine. Yet, even though I have these moments that I earnestly and genuinely think I will never forget what’s really important, my life gradually begins to respond like most others. We go through our motions of daily living and we are guilty of waste of the worse kind.

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