Monday, September 22, 2008

Don't Sweat The Small Things In Life

Years ago the story to follow was sent to me via email. It is a "word picture" about not sweating the small things in life. When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. "Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--God, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else--the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend." God wants us to give every need and care to him. In Matthew 11: 28 it says Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And in I Peter 5:7 it says "Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you." There is so much that we, as Christians, carry around on our shoulders. And it isn't even necessary. What I have taught my girls to do is visualize the problem ~ whether it is a person or a situation ~ and pick up and carry it to the feet of Jesus. The girls and I have carried many a person to the Lord ~ leaving them at His feet ~ and saying "I can't do this anymore, I can't handle this situation anymore, I can't deal with this person anymore. I give this to you." And guess what? It works. It is a beautiful picture of taking the weights of this life and putting them on Christ's shoulders ~ shoulders that are more than broad enough to carry everyone's load.

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