Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Two Cups of Coffee

Got a minute?

In our high-speed, fast-lane lives, we often forget to enjoy life’s more pleasant moments. Before you rush off to your next appointment, stop and give this story some serious thought.

This past Sunday I shared this story in my sermon. My wife commented on it afterward, encouraging me to share it through my column. Enjoy!

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 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 a 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. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18 holes of golf. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the garbage disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. 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," he said. "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."

So, what are you doing with your life? What’s really important to you? What are you filling your life with?

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll have to admit that the things that make your life fulfilling are the relationships you make and keep.

And, hey, when you’re next in town, stop by for a cup of coffee.

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