A professor came in to his class and sat an empty mason jar on his desk. Without saying a word he began to place large rocks in the jar until they reached the top. He then asked the class “is the jar full?” All of the students said “yes.” Without saying anything, he then took a bucket of gravel from under the desk and began to pour it in shaking the jar to make sure that it all went in. He then asked “is the jar full?” “Maybe” replied the students. He then reached under the desk and pulled out a bucket of sand and poured it in the jar. Again he asked “is the jar full?” At this point the students are convinced they should say “NO.” Once more he reached under the desk and pulled out a pitcher of water and poured all in the jar. He then asked “what’s my point” to which a student replied “no matter how busy your schedule may be there is always room for something else.” The professor said “no, my point is this, you better put the big rocks in first or you’ll never get them in at all.”
All too often we don’t take the time to figure out which things in our lives are the “big rocks” and we discover that we are spending our time on things that are not the most important. Often men fail to recognize that spending time developing our relationship with God through prayer and study of His word should be “big rocks.” If we are not careful we can fall into the trap of “I’ll get around to that stuff later but right now I have to focus on my career, hobbies, relationships or the myriad of other things Satan uses to distract us from the “big rocks.”. It’s easy to get preoccupied by the stuff the world says is important but they are in fact only distractions from what is most important. If you say you want to be God’s man but you don’t devote time and energy to growing and developing as God’s man it cannot happen. If you say you want to be a Godly husband but you don’t devote time and energy to developing a Godly relationship with your wife then it will not happen. If you say you want to be a Godly father but you spend no time or energy developing the right kind of relationship with your children then it will not happen. If you say you want to be a servant to your church community but you do not devote time and energy to serving it will not happen. We have to be in control of deciding what should be our “big rocks” and then make sure they go in “our jar” first because if they don’t we will probably never get them in at all.
I am often amused at how we men think that because we say something it will just happen. We think that we can speak something into existence. Deciding what should be the “big rocks” in our lives doesn’t happen by speaking them into existence. We must first decide what will be our “big rocks” and then develop a plan that will not allow the “gravel, sand or water” to take priority over the time and energy required to take care of our “big rocks.” Let’s stop for a moment and face a harsh reality and that is the fact that “big rocks” are often not the easiest, least time consuming or most fun responsibilities we have. They are however the first things that should go in our “jar.” In fact lets define it in terms that men understand “big rocks” are investments therefore they may not always provide an immediate return. An investment must be managed and cared for if we want it to give us the maximum return. This is how we create our legacy and it will be the things people remember most about us.
In Ecclesiastes 3 God tells us something about time when it says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Not only is God telling us He has provided a time for everything, He is saying there is a purpose in everything. Time has no relevance unless there is an event that takes place in that time. What we remember most about time is what took place during those seconds, minutes, hours or days.
This scripture also provides us an understanding that not everything in life is pleasant. God knows He has to prepare us for all types of life situations. If we never experienced those things then we cannot develop the compassion and empathy needed to effectively serve Him. Those who are insulated from the unpleasant things in life are often selfish, judgmental and cruel. While it is often difficult to understand at the time, some of our most valued lessons come from the most challenging times in our lives. These times help us to evaluate and put into perspective the things that should be “big rocks” in our list of priorities.
The most important thing to remember about time is “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” For this reason, it is critical that you determine your “big rocks” and then spend your time and energy taking care of them first. Remember, developing your relationship with your Heavenly Father through prayer, study of God’s word and fellowshipping with like-minded men has to be your biggest rock in order to properly care for the other “big rocks” in your jar.