Josh. 14, 15; Psalm 146, 147; Jer. 7; Matt. 21

What’s in your jar? Are we putting our greatest energy into relationship with Him?

Let all that I am praise the Lord. Psalm 146:1

In his message on putting first things first, author, educator, and speaker Dr. Stephen Covey spoke of a story shared with students on the importance of prioritizing the things of life, using a demonstration of placing items of varying size into a jar as part of the lesson. The instructor started by placing as many fist-sized rocks in the large jar, then asking the class if the jar was full. Answering yes, the instructor proceeded to fill the jar with smaller-sized gravel until the jar could accept no more, and asked the class again if the jar was full. Again answering yes, the instructor repeated the same process with sand, and then water, and concluded with asking the class what the point of the exercise was. One student boldly answered that “no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit more things into it!” The instructor replied “Not really… the point of the illustration was that if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all!” So, too, should our attitude be towards placing God first in our lives, and always, regardless of circumstances!

Yes… we all have areas of life that need tending; home, school, work, friends, church, our spiritual life… All of us have to wrestle with prioritizing an increasing number of tasks and responsibilities, often tending to one responsibility at the expense of others, then play the ‘catch-up’ game. Each of us deals with having only so much energy through a limited number of hours to accomplish whatever tasks that need tending. Unfortunately, there’s never an equal sign between what we need to get done and the energy we have… there’s never enough time or energy.

Did you pick up on it? Take a look at the last paragraph… did you get the sense that each area had the same level of importance? That each demanded the same level of attention? And if we’re not careful, this is what ‘busy’ does… it prevents the “fist-sized rocks”, in the case of Psalm 146, God, from getting placed first, if at all, because there are too many other things to tend to! Due, in part, to our own doing of trying to be all things to all people, and partly a work of the enemy, who does all he can to distract us from the proper order of things… God first!

But, we have it backwards when we let our relationship with God fall to any position other than first. In addition to the simple fact that He deserves the best and first fruits from each of us, He has a way of extending our resources for all the other areas of our lives when we put Him into the #1 position. When we spend time praising Him, we end up with extended patience and joy that transcends high levels of stress. Additionally, honoring Him first offers a dimension of peace that sustains us during the challenging times brought about in the other areas of life.

So, what are the big rocks in your life? Whatever they might be for you, is the first rock you’re putting into your “jar” our Lord and Savior? Making Him our first priority is what we, as Christians, ought to be doing naturally. And when we do, we benefit greatly by being able to handle all of what life throws at us with renewed energy and ability.

Jesus… thank You for the reminder that You deserve to be not only our Rock, but that You deserve to be first. Please help us to offer You our best and to remember that You have earned being first. Help us to trust that when we honor You in that way, You help the rest of life to be more tolerable. Amen!

Greg (gstefanelli)


Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms

4 responses to “Josh. 14, 15; Psalm 146, 147; Jer. 7; Matt. 21

  1. kateredding

    What a great visual to discuss and actually do with with my young chikdren. Thanks for making it so clear.

  2. Good morning Katie… Thank you, and you’re welcome. I agree… the story was a epiphany moment for me. I wish I had the story to work with when my children were much younger… I hope you and others can take advantage of it now! Let’s speak in 10 years to hear how it worked for you! 🙂

  3. Hi, Greg. You gave us a compelling argument for taking time to prioritize what we value beginning with our relationship with Christ Jesus. Since He is our solid rock and creator of all the elements, situations, relationships, and days in our lives, why do we kick around in the sand or tread water until we begin to sink? Even then, the Rock is still here for us to cling to. Amazing!

  4. Oh, Janet… the question of the ages… why, indeed. After much reflection and consideration, I believe the answer to your question, in part, lies in our ability to answer the question that Jesus posed to Simon Peter… “Who do *you* say that I am?” Who do *we* say Jesus is? AND, does the answer to this question change *depending on the circumstances*??

    These are powerful questions and directly address your question about kicking around until we begin to sink; 1) because we think we know better than God, and 2) it offers a reflection on our level of trust that God really is in control… of everything… and in *all* situations!

    In her recent book “Willing to Walk on Water: Step Out in Faith and Let God Work Miracles through Your Life”, Caroline Barnett asks the question “Are we willing to trust God to do the impossible through us?” (GREAT book, by the way!) It all comes down to faith, doesn’t it? All Jesus asks of us is *one* thing… to believe… with all our heart, mind, and strength!

    Perhaps we can continue this one day… until then, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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