Wasting Your Life on Seashells


It’s an old story from John Piper, but it’s worth repeating.

A young man gives his life to Christ in high school. He’s told to wait to go hard after the Lord until after college. Once in college he meets the girl of his dreams and decides to marry her. She loves Jesus and is everything he ever wanted. He gets told to wait to serve the Lord fully until after he has a job and can support her.

Our young friend marries the girl, gets a good job, and is about ready to turn his attention to truly serving the Lord like he’s always intended. But our friend’s wife gets pregnant and so his plans are postponed again. The now not-so-young man continues plodding in his job, seeking pay raises and promotions to care for his young family. The obligations of being a father push aspirations of getting serious about the Lord until after the baby (and his brothers and sisters) graduate from college.

That day comes and goes. For the last ten years our now middle-aged couple has been hearing about how they need to save for retirement because no one else will. So they stay working, saving up money for the retirement home in Florida that was supposed to be their dream home.

Finally the day arrives. The once young man and his wife retire and move to Florida. They have a nice, small house by the beach. And everyday the old man walks along the side of the ocean and picks up seashells.  His whole life now has come down to this moment every day where he spends his time enjoying seashells.

This is the point where Piper pulls out of the story, looks you straight in the eye, and tells you “Don’t waste your life on seashells.”

Friends, life is busy. Obligations push us to chose the immediate over the important. But if we’re not careful, the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of pleasures and riches will choke out the life of God in our souls. We have to chose what’s important and not be told what’s important. Because the world will tell us to chose sea shells. And if we follow along with the crowd, that’s what we’ll have.

So, what will you chose? Seashells, or something more?

Photo Credit: Seashell by Moyan Brenn



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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

2 responses to “Wasting Your Life on Seashells”

  1. Fanning the flame says :

    M O R E!! There is this longing. I feel it. I know it is God. This blog hit hard.

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  1. Don’t Waste Your Life Sitting In A Pew | Pursuing Glory - May 13, 2017

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