On the first day of term, a university professor stood in front of his philosophy class with an empty jar. Without saying a word to his students, he removed the lid of the jar and filled it with golf balls. When no more golf balls fit he closed the jar with its lid. He then asked his class, “Would you say that the jar is now full?” His students observed the jar and concluded that the jar was indeed full.
The professor then proceeded to open the jar up and started inserting marbles into the jar. The marbles started to fill the gaps between the golf balls. After sealing the jar, he asked his class once again if they thought the jar was now full. The class concluded that the jar was indeed now full.
The professor opened the jar a third time and started pouring in sand. Obviously, the sand started filling the gaps between the golf balls and the marbles. He then sealed the jar and asked his class a third time if the jar was full. His class chuckled and replied in unison, “Yes, it is now full!”
The professor opened the jar and emptied two small cups of coffee in the jar. The liquid had completely filled the gap between the golf balls, the marbles, and the grains of sand. He then began his lecture.
“I hope you realise that life is very much like this jar. The golf balls represent the important things in life, like God, family, loved ones, health, things that you care intimately about. If we lost everything else in life, our lives would still be ‘full’. The marbles are the other things in our lives that are important, but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them. Things like our work, our house, our car, etc. Finally, the sand represents everything else; the small stuff.
“If we were to have filled our jar up with sand first, there we wouldn’t have had enough room for the marbles or the golf balls. If we use all our life and energy on the small stuff, we won’t have any room for the important things.”
After a brief moment of silence one of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?” “Ah, I’m glad you asked,” replied the professor. “It means that no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”
We’ve all heard one version or another of the parable of time and balance. But there is no better time than now, as we start out the new year, to be reminded of the importance of getting all of our priorities in the right order. It is so easy to let work demands and the stresses of everyday life get in the ways of the really important stuff, like your relationship with God, your spouse, your family and your friends.
Make a decision right now to get it right this year. Choose (because it is a choice) to live a life of balance in 2013. There is no better goal you can set. It will filter through and impact any of the other goals and challenges you have set for yourself. I promise!