As a child, I was told to quit wasting my food. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach, they said. Only dish onto your plate what you can eat. Otherwise, you’ll end up throwing half of it away.

As a teen, I was told to quit wasting my time. You’re wasting your time watching countless hours of TV, they said. Go outside. Do something worthwhile. There’s only 24 precious hours in a day.

As a young adult, I was told to quit wasting opportunities. Don’t let the chance of a lifetime pass you by, they said. You’ve only got one life to live so make the most of it. Pursue your passions. Follow your dreams.

As an adult, I learned something new: no one has to tell us what not to waste. We know. We’re old pros by now. We’ve mastered the art of wasting.

  • Wasting tears over spouses who come home drunk every night.
  • Wasting prayers over children who wander from the faith.
  • Wasting sacrifices over friends who don't give a damn.

We learn all about wasting our love.

We are children of a God who’s really into wasting.

Or, at least, we think we do. So we start to build dams around our eyes to hold back the river of tears. We stop praying over lost causes. We wash our hands of friends who never return our calls. We stop wasting our love over those who haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it.

But in so doing, we forget something.
We are children of a God who’s really into wasting.

He wastes creation. He’s molds a sun that wastes its light. It shines on a street where predators stalk their prey without tripping in the darkness.

He plants trees that waste their fruit. They produce food that fills the mouth of liars and blowhards and asskissers.

He’s crafts birds that waste their songs. They make lovely morning music outside the hotel rooms of adulterers.

God, it seems, is quite the waster. Giving to the ungrateful. Blessing the unbeliever. Feeding the stingy. Loving the unlovable.

We marvel at the mystery he is, this wasteful God. And we remember that we, too, are among those who receive a million of his benefits and give him back a penny of praise. Our mouths, filled with his gifts, curse a brother or sister. Our hearts, into which he has poured his love, vomit out hatred against those who hurt us, disagree with us, don’t look like us, don’t believe like us, don’t sin in the same way we do.

So we need to remember, to let this truth sink in: Love is never wasted. Tears are never wasted. Prayers and sacrifices for others are never wasted.

When the sun stops wasting its light on criminals, when trees stop wasting their fruits on liars, when birds stop wasting their songs on cheaters, then—and only then—are we free to stop wasting our love on the unbelieving, the ungrateful, the so-called “undeserving.”

Until then, we lose our love as freely as the sun and trees and birds lose their loves on those who don't acknowledge the Creator.

We remember too that it was love, seemingly wasted on a cross, that once saved the world.

We follow the example of creation and her Creator, wasting our love quite prodigally in fulfilling our callings, whether we’re thanked or spurned, applauded or ignored.

We remember too that it was love, seemingly wasted on a cross, that once saved the world. Wasted blood that dripped where soldiers gambled. Wasted prayers for those who stood by and mocked. Wasted cries of absolution for those who knew not--or cared not--that they sinned.

We remember this unchanging truth: love is truly never lost, never wasted, for in love, in tears, in prayers, in sacrifices, God himself is present.

My new book, Your God Is Too Glorious: Finding God in the Most Unexpected Places, is now available. You can order copies from Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite local bookstore.