The Mayonnaise Jar

A philosophy professor stood before his class and began an object lesson. First, he sat an empty mayonnaise jar on the table in front of him. Next, he brought out a box of rocks that were each about two inches in diameter and filled the jar to the brim with them. Then he asked his students, “Is the jar full?” The students who would dare to venture a guess answered, “Yes.”

Next the professor brought out a box of very small pebbles and began pouring them into the jar. As he poured, he paused periodically and gingerly shook the jar to allow the pebbles to filter down between the larger rocks. When he was done, he asked his students again, “Is the jar full?” Having been burned before, even the students who had dared to answer the first time remained silent.

Then the professor brought out a box of sand and began pouring the sand into the jar. Again he paused every now and then and lightly shook the jar, which allowed the sand to filter its way down through all the rocks. When he was done, he asked his students one more time, “Is the jar full?” This time all of them confidently answered, “Yes.”

At that point the professor said to them, “I want each of you to think of this jar as your life. The big rocks are the most important things, your family, your friends, and your health. The pebbles are the things that matter but to a lesser degree, things such as your job, your house, or your car. And the sand, well, the sand is everything else, all the small stuff.”

Then he continued. “If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. And the same is true for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are the most important to you. So take care of your rocks first, the things that matter above everything else.”

Now, truth be told, that illustration is an old one and what I’ll call a worldly one. I use that word “worldly” because the illustration makes no allowance for Jesus Christ. And so how can you get Him into your jar of life along with everything else? Here’s how: think of Him as water. You see, that philosophy professor could have taken his object lesson one step further if he had brought out a large glass of water and begun pouring the water into the jar, pausing every now and then to shake the jar and allow the water to weave its way down through the rocks and sand.

What am I saying? I’m saying that establishing priorities in your life is a wonderful thing, but even those priorities must be touched by the “water” of Christ. The way to make your life count the most for eternity is to surrender it completely, every last corner of it, to Him. Let Him permeate everything that you think, say, and do. Let Him lead you into His perfect will and plan for your time here on earth. Let Him guide you into all truth. Let Him mold and shape you into the absolute best version of you there can be. And let Him take everything about your life,  all the rocks, all the pebbles, and all the sand, and use it to bring glory to God the Father in heaven.

This entry was posted in Contentment, Discipleship, Dying To Self, Family, Friendship, God's Will, Human Life, Joy, Priorities, Salvation, Truth and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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