Summary: A study of waste and wasted potential. Samson had such potential to be a great man of God. Instead of treasuring the gifts he'd been given, he wasted his strength on his own desires.

What a Waste

Seeds: some background notes from a Steve Malone message/outline.

1. I’m aggravated by waste.

2. Waste: wasted time (waiting in line, or at the doctor, or to get your driver’s license), wasted food (seeing food thrown away, or left on the plate), wasted money (government waste: $600 toilet seats, shrimp treadmill, Ad council)

3. The worst, though, is a wasted life. Musicians (Kurt Cobain of Nirvanna, Jimmy Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Jim Moorison of the Doors), athletes like Len Bias (drafted by the Celtics, took cocaine and died the next day) or Steve Prefontain (Olympic runner), actors like James Dean (car crash) and Heath Ledger (Batman).

4. Wasting time is one thing. Wasting money. Wasting food. But a wasted life is a horrible, horrible tragedy. To have so much potential, so much promise and to waste it away. (Tennessee Titan Pacman Jones).

5. Dictionary: waste. To consume or spend uselessly or without adequate return; to squander.

6. Intro Samson. We meet Samson in Judges 13.

• Samson was born to parents who were childless, but wanted a child badly. His parents believed in and worshipped God. Samson was set apart by God (Nazarite) and God gave him great strength. And … he was probably good-looking because he was popular with the ladies.

• “A real bad dude” illustration.

• But in Judges 14 we see Samson start to go astray. He liked the ladies, and he chose a wife who wasn’t Hebrew. In fact she was a Philistine, the enemy. It didn’t matter, though. Samson wanted what he wanted when he wanted it.

• When you make choices like that, you start down the path to a wasted life.

7. Judges 16:4-21. (thongs: not sandals or tiny underwear. Bowstrings)

8. He had been blessed; given much. But he wanted what he wanted, ignoring God’s will and God’s instruction. He chose his own way. He thought he was indestructible (Prov. 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”). He ignored the warning signs (Hello! Philistines keep jumping out from out of nowhere.). And he pressed his luck until it cost him. What a waste!

9. There’s so much more to the story of Samson, and we’ll study Samson more thoroughly later.

• But my challenge this morning is for you to look at your own life and see the many, many, many blessings you’ve been given by God.

• Every one of us today is in danger of wasting the incredible gifts/blessings God has given us.

• I don’t want for someone to look at my life and say, “He had so much potential. He was given so many gifts. He had such promise. But he wasted it all.”

10. How do you make sure you don’t end up like Samson?

• Recognize all that God’s done for you (we often focus on what we don’t have instead of the blessings we already have). Value the blessings and gifts God has given.

• Stay close to your Heavenly Father, listen to Him and obey Him.

• Surround yourself with the right people.

• Recognize the warning signs.

• Repent when it’s needed.

A Real Bad Dude

A burly, old mountain man had been in the north woods for weeks by himself, camping out. Each night at dusk he built a campfire, boiled water for coffee, and took out his skillet to fry up some bacon for dinner. As he was sitting by the fire one night, the water boiling and the bacon sizzling, he heard an enormous racket in the brush. The sound was like a freight train, and as trees fell over and branches snapped, the biggest bear he’d ever seen lumbered into his campsite. On the back of the bear was the biggest, baddest, toughest-looking hombre the mountain man had ever seen. He was wearing a live 7-foot rattlesnake around his neck. The man screamed at the bear and brought it to a skidding halt. He bit the head off the rattlesnake, and flung it into the brush. Then he slid off the bear’s back, turned, and slugged him between the eyes, knocking him unconscious. The camper was speechless, as this wild-eyed renegade walked over to the fire, tossed the boiling coffee down his throat, drank the hot grease from the skillet, and ate all of the bacon in one bite. As he wiped his hands with poison ivy and slapped the bear back to consciousness, he turned to the camper and said, “Partner, I’m sorry I can’t stay around and visit with you a while, but I’ve got to keep moving. A real bad dude is chasing me!”

The bad dude would have been a lot like Samson.

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