Monday, April 24, 2006

CrossTies Devotional Article For April 23, 2006

Graduates:  Do Not Waste Your Life!
By Bill Denton

“And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.” (.Matthew 12:25, NASB95)

Emanuel Ninger wasted his life.  He was arrested on March 28, 1896 for forgery.  He had $244.25 in “good and bad money” in his pockets.  But Ninger was much more than a forger.  He was an artist.  In fact, his forgeries were hand painted.  He was so good, that some shopkeepers, impressed with the artwork on the forgeries, kept and framed them in stead of turning him in.  In a search of his home, three oil paintings were found.  It is said, he could paint a picture, or draw a forged bill in about the same amount of time.  His paintings sold for around $5,000.00 each, meaning he could have made much more money legitimately than by forging banknotes.  Still, he chose to waste his talents, and thus his life.
     - adapted, Ninger Had No Witnesses, The New York Times (4-21-1896).

There are a lot of young people about to launch themselves out into the world in the next few weeks.  Some of them will enter college.  Others will enter the work force.  Others will enlist in the military.  Some will participate in other kinds of training programs.  Regardless, most of them will set out to prepare themselves for a career or profession, or engage in some kind of life work.  A lot of them will waste their lives.

I hate to the be the lone voice during a time of mostly positive accolades, congratulation, awards, and well-wishes.  I accept the job of pointing out what nobody else wants to admit.  A lot of young people are not on the brink of success, they stand at the precipice of disaster.  Why?  Well, it’s not because they have no talent.  It’s not because they’re destined to fail.  It’s because they will end up wasting their talents and opportunities by foolish choices, destructive behavior, or misguided application of their cherished talents.

Please understand, I’m not a pessimist.  I’m a realist.  What if someone had said to Emanuel Ninger, “Manny, old pal, you’re just wasting your talent.  Let me sell one of these paintings of yours and show you the right way to market your artistic skills.”  Perhaps Emanuel Ninger wouldn’t have listened, but maybe he would have.  His life’s story might be totally different.

I’d like to say to all these promising youth, “Do not waste your life!”  Unfortunately, waste is what will happen to too many young folks.  We send them forth into the bigger arenas of life as if success is guaranteed.  Nothing is further from the truth.  Success and productivity require hard work, much further preparation and training, and participating in the right kind of things.  Lots of these young people will just end up wasting themselves and a tremendous amount of potential.  All but a negligible amount of success is the result of hard work and one more try.  But put those efforts into things that are good and legitimate.  It’s a waste to fight against oneself.

© Copyright  2006, Dr. Bill DentonAll Rights Reserved.Articles may not be reprinted in any "for profit" publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.
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