What Are Your Priorities?

I read this little story from Stephen’s site on Libero’s blog on StumbleUpon. It made me think how my days go and wonder if I have my priorities in order. ~~ (Photo taken from Microsoft Clipart)


(Author unknown)

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that 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, 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 rocks. The same goes for your 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. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Too often our days are driven by circumstances at hand dictating what our course of action should be. It’s usually not until life gives us a nudge – sometimes not so gentle – revealing what’s important. Just today, I was given one of those little nudges to take notice of what’s important.

My husband works for an auto parts store and was getting some parts off some shelves in the back when all of a sudden the whole 20’ row of shelves collapsed in on him. He didn’t have much time to react except to start to put his arm out and move a few steps back and think, “This is going to hurt”.

To his amazement the shelves and the parts all fell around his feet. The boxes on the floor next to him were dented in where some of the parts came down on them but he wasn’t bruised or scratched. It was a miracle how he wasn’t touched looking around at the pile of parts 1-2 ft high he had to climb over. On top of all that were the parts he was originally looking for with the order. Talk about divine intervention.

As I thought of how close he came to being hurt, I was reminded of priorities. He is certainly one of the rocks in my life.

Thank you angels for the times you keep us safe and look out for us even when we don’t notice. This time you had our attention on what’s important in our lives.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

6 thoughts on “What Are Your Priorities?

  1. Hi Pat,

    I’ve heard the mayonnaise jar story before and love the message it portrays.

    What a blessing your husband was unhurt, and to think, the parts he was looking for were on top.

    A higher power was on duty. 🙂 Thank goodness he is safe.

  2. I’ve read that story before, but I always enjoy reading it again. It’s such a wonderful reminder not to sweat “the small stuff.”

    I’ve been working on letting a lot of the small stuff go … my dishes may sit in the sink a little longer, laundry may get done a day later, and I’ve hired someone to come and clean my house. Priorities such as work and family are just so much more valuable and important than doing housework!


  3. Andrea – so true with not “sweating the small stuff”. It always seems to get done somehow and will still be there long after we’re gone.

    The wee ones growing up and family times, enjoying the blessings given us each day and taking time to spend with our Creator are some of the priorities to make time for.

    If we don’t time slips away.

    Thank you for stopping back again and commenting. I always enjoy your feedback.


  4. Barbara – thank you for your kind thoughts for my husband. Yes, we both took it as a miracle and a blessing. I’m thankful his angels were looking out for him — and all of us.

    Happy you liked the mayonnaise jar story and its message.


  5. Pat, it sounds like your husband’s guardian angels were on hand that day to keep him safe. My husband has gone through several sets of guardian angels. We are all blessed by their presence in our lives.

  6. Patricia – you’re right about that. His angels were on duty that day and it sounds like your husband has had a few experiences like these of his own.

    Isn’t it nice to know we’re being looked out for.

    Now, we can put our attention on what’s important.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. I always enjoy your comments.


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