Full text of Dr. John Piper’s talk titled “Don’t Waste Your Life” which was presented at the 2011 National Conference, Light & Heat: A Passion for the Holiness of God
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
John Piper – Founder, desiringGod.org
God was very kind to me when I was 17 years old in high school. Something came alive. I can almost pinpoint the class. It was Mrs. Clanton’s Class in English. Something came alive that has never died.
I was already walking with Jesus, and so it wasn’t faith that came alive. It was an awakening of the wonder and the weight of having one life to live, and then its outcome for eternity, no second chances, no retakes like when you do a video, no do-overs in a test – one life and then eternity.
In 1964, we had a high school literary magazine called Leaves of Grass, and I published a mediocre poem in it. And the quality of the poem makes no difference to me whatsoever now, but looking back on it, the burden of it is what grips me because it was an evidence of that coming alive of the sense of I’ve got one life — one life, and I can blow it forever or not.
So that poem was published and in it there’s a verse. It’s written from the perspective of being an old man. I’m 17 years old when I’m writing it. It’s called The Lost Years, and in the verse, the last verse goes like this:
“Long I sought for the earth’s hidden meaning. Long as a youth was my search in vain. Now as I approach my last years waning, My search I must begin again.”