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  Wickham Market Church


People to Jesus

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The "Big Rocks" of Life

One day an expert on the subject of time management. was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used this illustration.


As the man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz."

He then pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed jar and set it on the table in front of him. He produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is the jar full?"


Everyone in the class said, "Yes."

Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.


He smiled and asked the group once more,"Is the jar full?"

By this time they were onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good," he replied.

And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel.

Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"


"No!" the group shouted. Once again he said, "Good!"

Then he grabbed a jug of water and began to pour until the jar was filled to the brim.


When he looked up at the group he asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One eager listener raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."


What are the big rocks in your life? Your faith, time with your loved ones, your education, your finances, achieving a change of direction, mending a relationship, teaching or mentoring others? A project you want to accomplish? An injustice you feel you need to do something to help put right?


Remember to put the BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all.


Are the big rocks you choose to put in first the ones that are really important to you, or are they the ones that have become a habit?


What big rock should you be fitting in? Use the jar analogy to work out how to do it.

This story is adapted from several similar versions on various other web pages. A modern day parable I suppose. Did someone deliver a talk like this? Possibly. Is it important ? Definitely.