A Wasted Life

God expects big things from us.
 
Have you ever thought about that? Or considered the weight of that reality?
 
Truth is, God has created us with a pretty high ceiling when it comes to potential. Don’t take my word for it, Paul wrote these words before I made that statement:
 
Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared for us in advance to do.
 
This Scripture has some pretty significant implications for us and the way we’re supposed to live our lives.
 
I’ll repeat…God expects bigs things from us.
 
That word “handiwork” that Paul uses comes from the Greek word “poeima.” And if that word sounds familiar it’s because “poeima” is where we get our English words “poem” and “poetry.” So a literal translation of Paul’s words tells us that we are actually God’s work of art—His masterpiece.
 
We have been carefully and skillfully and intricately made to be God’s poem, to be His work of art, to be His masterpiece. However, we weren’t created just to sit on the wall for people to stare at. But unfortunately that’s where people tend to draw the line with Paul’s words. These words, more often than not, are used to remind us of our value, to build our self-esteem, and to show us of just how special God thinks we are.
 
There’s nothing wrong with doing that. However, if it’s the only takeaway you get from Paul’s words—you’re missing the point.
 
We are God’s “poeima” for the purpose of doing big things for His Kingdom. And part of the incredible value in being created by God is that our potential to do great things in life are pretty limitless.
 
And if there was anyone in the Bible who missed out this, it was Scripture’s muscle man, Samson.
 
In my humblest opinion, he is the greatest example of wasted potential that we can find in the Bible. He is the epitome of someone who lived a “life well wasted.”
 
At the point of his entry into God’s narrative for earth, we find the Israelites—God’s people—in bondage to the Philistines. It was mainly because the nation of Israel was a spiritual mess. And because they didn’t have strong, Godly leader to lead the nation, they found themselves going through the same cycle every 40 years: they would sin, they’d be captured, they’d cry out to God, and then God would save them. Rinse and repeat.
 
However, during their bondage to the Philistines, even though they hadn’t gotten to the part where they cried out to God, He was already working ahead of them, raising up their next deliverer in Samson.
 
Samson was going to be special.
 
God expected big things from him.
 
He was a miracle child—born to parent’s who weren’t able to conceive.
 
And an angel of the Lord told his mother specifically:
 
Judges 13:5
He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
 
And did I mention he was given a ridiculously large amount of physical strength to accomplish this?
 
Samson was God’s handiwork, created to do big things with big muscles.
 
But here’s the catch…while God had big plans for Samson, he was told to live by a higher standard. He wasn’t just being called into God’s work, he was told to live into that calling. He was called to live as a Nazirite.
 
To be Nazirite meant he would hold himself to three specific promises: 1) he wouldn’t eat grapes or drink wine, 2) he wouldn’t touch anything dead, and 3) he would never cut their hair. The purpose of these promises were to set himself completely apart from the culture that he lived in—to be different in order to make a difference for God.
 
With his strength he did some pretty big things. But he could have done more. He never lived up to his potential—he didn’t live up to the hype. He never fully engaged his purpose.
 
All those things that a Nazirite wasn’t supposed to do—the wine, the dead, the hair—he did all of it. He hung out in vineyards and loved to party, he ate honey out of the dead lion’s carcass, and his hair was cut all because of a beautiful woman. But not just that—Samson was a liar, he was disrespectful, he was lustful, he let his anger always get the best of him, and he never learned to seek God and because of that he never saw the value that God had placed in his life.
 
So his story doesn’t end the way you’d expect it to. Without the strength that God had blessed him with, he found himself captured by the Philistines, with his eyes gouged out. He went from being a superstar to a complete dud.
 
But we know how the story goes—on death’s door he had a “come to Jesus” moment where we see this:
 
Judges 16:28-30
Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
 
It wasn’t until this moment of desperation that Samson finally reached out to God—the God that set him up for success in life. And in one last display of His power, not Samson’s power, God gave Samson strength enough to destroy a Philistine temple—killing himself and more Philistines than he had ever killed in life.
 
And here’s the point I want to make: God wants to use us. And He’s set us up for success.
 
We are God’s handiwork. His poem. His work of art. His masterpiece.
 
He’s given us skills, gifts, and abilities to accomplish His work.
 
Do you live in this truth?
 
Or are you living a “life well wasted” like Samson? Are you squandering your potential?
 
Are you loving to the best of your ability? Are you serving God with what He’s provided to you? Are you building His Kingdom here on earth? Do you serve others? Do you live a life set apart?
 
Or like Samson, do you just serve yourself? Do you live a pretty “ordinary” life by the world’s standards?
 
God expects big things from us.
 
To remind us all, one last time, of how high our ceiling is, let me leave us with this Scripture:
 
John 14:12-14 V
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
 
Jesus tells us that we are gifted with the potential to do even greater things than He had done with the time He had on earth.
 
To me, that doesn’t seem like a life well wasted, that to me seems like a life well lived.
 
–Pastor Cody

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