Important Things First
Greetings! I know it’s still early in the school year, but I trust that you are getting into a regular routine that will help you to be more productive and to have the best year ever! Remember what you have learned in previous years and apply that learning to what you can do to make this year even better.
This year begins my twenty-ninth year of teaching with sixteen of those years here at Kuyper. Every year becomes more productive because I have learned to build on what I have learned in previous years and to improve upon that knowledge. One of the most relevant things that I have learned is to take care of the important things first. When you do that, then it is amazing how you will have time to do even the less important but still fun things.
Let me share an illustration that made an impression upon me. Find yourself a large jar (an empty Mason/canning jar, mayonnaise jar, or peanut butter jar). Pour dried rice into the jar until the jar is half full. Then put as many wholes, unshelled walnuts (or unshelled mixed nuts) into the jar until you can’t put in any more. The rice represents things in your life that matter but that can rob you of valuable time -playing video games, watching television, checking what your friends are doing on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, just to name a few. The unshelled nuts represent the important things in your life –God, Bible reading, family, church, school, preparing for your future, you get the idea. With the rice taking up half the jar there isn’t much room for the walnuts. When you fill your life with the small things first (rice), you run out of time or room for the important things (walnuts).
Now, empty the contents of the jar into a bowl. Put the walnuts into the jar first until the jar is full (you will need to add more nuts than what you originally put into the jar). Then take the rice and pour it into the jar, gently shaking the jar to let the rice roll into the open areas between the nuts. Almost all of the rice will fit into the jar, maybe even with room to spare. The point of this illustration is this: if you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff first, you will never have enough room or time for the things that are important. But, if you pay attention and do the big things that are important to your growth and relationship with God first, you will always have room in your life for the less important things that are still fun and meaningful.
So, when things in your life seem almost too much to handle when you feel there are not enough hours in the day, remember the jar, nuts, and rice. Take care of the important things first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. Everything else is just a grain of rice.