What’s in Your Jar?

I often think back to a sermon that I heard when I was in college. The pastor put a large glass jar on a table. There were rocks the size of my fist, pebbles, and a quart-measuring cup of sand on the table. First, the pastor poured the sand into the jar. Then he poured the pebbles in. The jar was full, and he hadn’t even put the large rocks in. He said something to the effect of “The sand represents all the little things you can do in a day. The pebbles are the bigger things, and the rocks are the things that should be priorities. If you put the little things into your life first, you will have no room for the big things.” Then, he scooped out the pebbles and poured the sand back into the cup.

Next, he placed the rocks in the jar; they all fit in the empty space. Then he poured the pebbles in, and they all shuffled in around the rocks. Last, he poured the sand in and every last grain fit. He said, “If you take the time for the big things in life, the little things will fall into place.”

Oh, how many times I catch myself during the day over-thinking the little things! But then I stop to think: Will it really matter if the laundry is not finished today? Does having a half-finished house really matter in the grand scheme of things, since it at least is a roof over our heads? What does it matter if Little Girl wants to leave the house wearing mittens in July?

When I put my big things first – faith, family, friends, attitude – I am more capable to do the other things. Knowing that I’m putting the majority of my time into thinking about the things that really matter to me makes it so I’m not pulled in so many directions at once. I never want my kids or my husband to feel like they have to schedule time to see me because the house must be spotless at all times. I want them to know what really matters in life.

Since I’m a teacher, my job will need to get a “priority” spot once I go back to work (it is definitely not a job you can leave at the end of the day and be done with). But for now, this is the basics of my “jar.” Regardless, I am (now publicly) committed to making time for the big things, and letting the little ones fall into place.

How do you arrange your priorities? Do you include others?


6 thoughts on “What’s in Your Jar?

  1. Great post, I love it! I’m a Type A personality and have been struggling with this my whole life.
    I love how the pastor made his point, I’ll try to remember that analogy from now on. It’s so simple yet very powerful.
    Thanks for sharing, it couldn’t have come at a better time. As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten caught up with small stuff a lot lately and just started writing a post along those lines myself.

  2. What a fantastic sermon! I love the message! I’ve been trying to remember my mother’s saying about the dirt and dust in our houses being around long after we’re dead, so there’s no point in stressing about it too much. It’s tough to “stop and smell the roses” but I think it’s a little easier for me this time of year, when the weather is beautiful and we can play outside with friends, and my daughter can’t WAIT for daddy to get home and take her to the playground. These are the BIG things to me.

    – Evanthia

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