Friday, October 22, 2010

Rocks and Water

The time-management speaker set two wide-mouthed glass jars on the podium and dumped jumbo marbles into one until they reached the top. "Is this jar full?" he asked his audience.

"Yes, it is," they replied.

"Are you sure?" He produced a bucket of sand and poured that in around the marbles until it reached the top of the jar. "You can see there was room for more. Is the jar full now?"

This time, the audience eyed him suspiciouslyand silently.  

"You're right, it still isn't full." The speaker picked up a pitcher of water and tilted that over the jar. The water poured in for several seconds, then began to trickle over the sides. "Now it's full. What can we learn from this?"

"No matter how full your life is," someone called, "you always can manage to squeeze in more than you think!"

"Are you sure?" The speaker turned to the second jar and tipped the pitcher again. In flowed the water, rising and rising until it hovered around the brim. "Is this jar full?"

A moment's nervous silence passed before someone ventured, "It probably is."

"You're right, and here's proof." The speaker dropped in a marble. Drips of water immediately escaped over the rim and trickled down the sides. "Now, what can we learn by considering both jars together?"

The room was quiet for a full minute. Finally, a hand shot up. "I know! If you don't put the big things into your life first, your life will get so full of little things that you'll end up with no room for the big ones!"

What do you put into your schedule first? Big things, such as prayer, Bible study, and serving your neighbors? Or little things such as household cleaning, television, and e-mail?

Try it both ways and see which leaves sufficient room for the other.

Fill a jar with rocks and pebbles, space will yet remain around;
If you pour in sand between them, room to hold a cup is found.

Fill a jar with sand and gravel, it’s still not quite full, you know:
Add a quarter cup of water, and it will not overflow.

Fill an empty jar with water, get it rising to the brim,
And it sloshes on the table when you drop a pebble in.

Fill your life with things important, and the basic tasks still fit;
Fill your life with mindless actions—and that’s all you’ll ever get.

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