I found this story some time ago (I do not remember where) and recently re-read it. It is thought provoking, so I thought I’d share it:
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rock right to the top, rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked his students again if the jar was full. They again agreed that it was.
So the professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up every-thing else.
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things—your family, your partner, your health, or your children—anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.
“The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale—things like your job, house, or car.
“The sand is everything else, the small stuff.
“If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.”
As we go through our lives we encounter a few “rocks,” plenty of “pebbles,” and tons of “sand.” Walking on this journey to get to know God, I find that it has become a new thing to place in my jar of priorities. Of course, for those wanting to know God, a question must first be answered: is knowing God a high priority in your life? Is it a “rock” or just some more “sand”? If it is important enough to be a “rock” in your life, then getting to know Him must be placed as first priority in your life.
I hear many say they wish they could spend more time with devotionals or other ways of spending time with God. Yet, they feel they cannot because their lives are too rushed to fit that in. I struggle with that feeling too. However, like the story, we have to realize that if we fill our lives with the smaller stuff of life first, we will never have time for God. If we never have time for God, we will never get to know Him. But isn’t that the point of being a Christian: building a relationship with our Savior? Therefore, we must re-evaluate what is really important.
If we are to deepen our relationship with Him—or get to know Him in the first place—time with Him must take priority. It has to be a whole-hearted effort, not a left-over attempt. So we must be diligent to place God first in our lives. Give Him the best, and the first, of our lives.
God says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Author: Pastor Bill Kasper