Richard Exley Ministries


Is Your Jar Too Full?
Posted on February 28, 2015

Has life lost its zest? Is your plate too full? Have you taken on more than you can manage? You can complain or you can do something about it.

I’m thinking of the Ivy League professor who opened the first class of the semester by placing a two and a half gallon glass jar on the table at the front of the lecture hall. As the MBA students watched he carefully filled it to the brim with golf balls. Looking up he asked the class if the jar was full. When they responded in the affirmative he reached under the table and extracted a bag of sand. Slowly he poured the sand into the jar allowing time for it to work its way in-between the golf balls. When the sand was level with the top of the jar he repeated his earlier question. Finally one young man said, “It looks full but I suspect you have another surprise for us.”

Once more the professor reached under the table and this time he produced a pitcher of water and carefully poured it into jar as well, filling it to the brim. “Now,” he said, “it’s full.” After a moment he asked, “And what do you think is the point of this demonstration?”

An ambitious young woman quickly responded, “No matter how full your life is, no matter how busy you are, you can still fit something else in.”

“Ah, ha,” the professor said. “That’s a common enough mistake, the kind most type ‘A’ personalities are prone to make.”

When no one else ventured an answer he continued. “If you don’t put the big things in first you will never get them in. Had I started with the sand I could never have gotten the golf balls in. Life’s like that too. You have to know what’s important and you have to fit that in first – God, family and then all that other stuff. ”

If your jar is too full you can complain about it or you can do something about it.

More than once I’ve had to turn my “jar” upside-down and dump everything out and start over. Without realizing it I had filled it with sand—the urgent instead of the important, the good instead of the best, the insignificant instead of the eternal. It’s always messy when we have to start over but it’s liberating too. Sometimes people misunderstand, and that can be painful, but we dare not allow the expectations of others to shape our life; not if we want to please God rather than man.

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Category: Life