Big Rocks

A professor stood before a roomful of the brightest and best. All were high intensity, success-at-any-cost, go full out until you get what you are going after kinds of students. He held up a large glass jar and proceeded to fill it to the top with large rocks.

Big rocks

Room for more?

“Is this jar filled?” he asked. The general consensus was yes.

He then took a container of gravel and poured it in among the rocks until the vacant places were filled. “Is it full now?” he asked. This time most of them saw where this experiment was going.

“Probably not” was their response.

“You’re correct” he said as he poured almost two cups of sand into the mixture. Finally a cup and a half of water completed the filling of the jar.

“And what does this tell us?” he inquired of his now intrigued students.

“That there’s always room for more when you think there isn’t” came a quick reply.

“No,” he said. “The truth of this illustration is that unless you put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them into the jar.”

Point made.

In a day in which the ‘big rocks’ of relationship with God, our family and friends lay on the counter while our lives are filled with the gravel and sand of lesser things … this is an important lesson.

A Netflix download takes precedence over quiet time with God. A morning newspaper is deemed more important than conversation with a spouse. A Nascar race is valued over fellowship with a local congregation.

We ‘sand and gravel’ ourselves right out of the relationships that should and could mean more to us than anything else in life.  At the end of our lives, we will not ask to be surrounded by our bowling trophies, reruns of favorite TV shows or a record of the games of Trivial Pursuit that we won.

This week, contemplate the important things that will make your life complete when it is completed. And get those into the jar first!


May you find joy (and proper priorities) on your journey!   And by the way, if you are not receiving my occasional blogs on “Family By The Book”, “Prayer”, or my pastor’s blog “60 Seconds of Pastoral Pondering” you can sign up for any or all of them at

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