Are the Big Rocks as Big as They Should Be?

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Photo source: aeu04117

You’ve probably heard the illustration multiple times. The college professor, lecturer, motivational speaker, or philosopher is standing in front of a large group with a big jar, a pitcher of water, and rocks of varying sizes. The rocks and water certainly appear to be too numerous or bulky to fit inside the jar. He then proceeds to demonstrate how all these items can fit inside the big jar if the larger rocks are placed inside first.

You know where this is going. The lesson here is that in life, we need to put the big rocks in first.

Big rocks = Big priorities.

Usually, the application of this illustration is that we should make sure that we take care of the most important things first. However, I think that most of us do put the Big Rocks first.

It’s just that sometimes we can view the wrong things as Big Rocks.

I know I do. I can view that project, that trip, that errand as more important than the truly important things. More important than reading the story to my littles, taking a walk in the park holding hands with my honey, praying and talking with my young men before they go to bed, or trusting in The One who has saved me.

Photo source: makelessnoise

What’s Most Important?

Sometimes the less important things in my life appear much more urgent, BIGGER, than the most important things in my life. What I think is a “Big Rock” really isn’t. That’s when it’s time for a reality check. And sometimes, not always, but sometimes, how I allot my time reveals how I view my priorities and my Big Rocks.

A wise man once told me, “We all do what we truly want to do. Just sometimes we don’t want to do those things that are most important.”

This week I’m praying that I have eyes to see what’s truly important, that I would want to do the most important, that I would make the Big Rocks be as big as they should be.

I’m praying that I can follow the Psalmist’s advice (Psalm 37:3-4):

Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

What do YOU do to keep your Big Rocks Big?

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  1. Beautiful post. I often hear ladies brag “I drive 1000 miles a month taking my kids to activities” and wear it like a badge… and I think why? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if you just played at home after school? It’s so easy to think you’re doing so many good things by ticking of your errands list or running everywhere but when you glimpse at your children suffering in the backseat it brings you back to reality. Find the nearest park, pull over, and play with them. It’s good for everyone 🙂 Thank you for this inspirational post and I will do my best to remember it all through this week.

  2. It’s so easy to get distracted by the “little rocks” – probably because there are so many of them! Thanks for pointing this out. I try to stay focused, but it’s not easy!

  3. Thank you for this post.God has really been dealing with me this past month about this very issue.Pray for me .Thank you for all you do.

  4. I’ve heard this one using golf balls, marbles, sand, and water — that one’s easier to visualize for me, since ‘big’ vs ‘little’ rocks is pretty vague. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful reminder. We can often get our priorities out of order and we need to get back on track.

    Most things we do are good, but it’s hard to make sure you decide which are better or even best. That can vary with each family and can be hard to judge at times. I’ve heard, the biggest enemy of the best is not the worst, but the mediocre!

  6. Have you ever read The Tyranny of The Urgent? It is an older booklet that discusses this so beautifully. It has had a huge impression on my life. Very often it is the important things that can be pushed aside due to urgent things that scream for our attention. The trick is to recognize the difference between the two.

  7. Thank you so much for this post, God used your words to speak to me. It has been a very difficult week for me and I have been making it even more difficult by putting the small rocks in first.

  8. Wow! Been so overwhelmed lately with new twins and two little boys on top of it. Thank you for sharing. God has used you to touch my heart!

  9. Thanks so much. You are truly wise and wonderful. I’m going to be keeping this in mind too!


  10. Great Post! It is so easy to focus on all those little rocks and to even get irritated over “sand in our shoes” or “spilled water” and much more challenging to keep our focus on those big rocks that need to go into our days first! i will be pondering this a bit . . . .

  11. I was actually working on an assignment about goals, priorities, and time management this past week. The rock illustration was used in the reading. Anyway, you are SO RIGHT about how e often think the rocks are larger or smaller than they ought to be. My goal for this week is to be honest with myself about where my priorities really lie.