Don’t Fritter Away Your Life

For those of you who are new to Life Compass, I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics on Sundays.  Here’s why.

My oldest son turned 13 in December, so I decided I’d make some time each week over the course of this year to have some fun with him and talk about things that will help prepare him for manhood. We call it “man-to-man time.”

We usually play basketball at the YMCA (he always whips my bum), go out for breakfast, and then go to my office where we read a chapter from the Proverbs in the Bible and a book called Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz.

If you’re familiar with Proverbs, you know there’s so much wisdom here that covers just about every aspect of life. We especially enjoy reading it from The Message, which is a paraphrase of the Bible in contemporary language, written by Eugene Peterson.

This week, as we read Proverbs chapter 15, one verse really spoke to me about my life’s purpose from God’s perspective.  I thought I’d share it with you today:

A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish line. – Proverbs 15:9

In Proverbs, the author takes a life concept and juxtaposes it, showing two sides of the coin.  I’ve been amazed at how this simple technique can help bring fresh insight and understanding.

So what does it mean here to fritter away your life? I think it means to waste it, squander it, or not use it to it’s full potential. To run straight for the finish line is to live your life with purpose and intentionality, to maximize it.

It’s been my observation that if we don’t live with purpose and intentionality, we fritter our lives away by default. I know how easy it is for me to go through the motions, skate by, and do the bare minimum in all areas of my life.  What about you?

But so what?  Why does God care if I fritter away my life or not?  What difference does it make to him?  And what difference should it make for me?  Here’s what I think the verse is trying to communicate:

  • God is the author of my life and the giver of my purpose.  To fritter my life away is to reject who he made me to be.
  • God has given me incredible potential, and I have barely tapped into it.  Perhaps he believes more in me than I do in myself.
  • God expects me to be the best “me” that I can be.  He doesn’t expect me to be someone I’m not.
  • Not all paths leads to success or accomplishment.
  • There’s power in knowing and living my purpose.
  • God wants me to finish strong and not rest on my laurels.
  • God wants me to have abundant life.
  • It’s up to me – it’s my choice in how I’m going to live.

Personally, I do not want to fritter away my life.  I want to reach my full potential and accomplish everything that I’ve been created by God to do.  The most important thing in my life is to make sure I’m living the way God wants me to live in all areas of life.  What about you?

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  1. Wonderful post. I think there’s a lot of noise in the world that distracts us from our true purpose and makes it easy to fritter away our time. Would love to see a part II – HOW to ensure I’m making full use of my potential.

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