Anyway, on a particularly busy day this week, I was wrapping up my prayer on the way into the parking lot. While my normal routine would suggest that I would go straight into my office and read, I had a meeting across campus in just a few minutes and I had planned on going straight there. So, in my prayer, as I was asking for God to speak to me through scripture, I remembered that I hadn’t planned on going to my office. I thought to myself, “Well, I hope I can fit some reading time in at some point today.”
I literally laughed out loud at how ridiculous it sounded to suggest that I would have to “fit in” some time with God. Shouldn't that be the first thing on my schedule? Shouldn't that be my top priority?
As my job is to help college students find success, I often talk with them about scheduling and prioritizing. I help them learn to take care of important, urgent matters before spending their time on the less important things. Here is a common analogy used to help people understand prioritizing:
A physics teacher gave his students a wide-mouth mason jar. He then gave them five big rocks, a handful of marbles, a container of sand and a glass of water. He said, “You’ve got fifteen seconds to put all of these items in the jar."
The physics teacher then stepped back with stopwatch in hand and yelled, “Go!” The students poured in the sand, threw in the marbles and started stuffing the rocks in. After fifteen seconds he shouted, “Times up.” There still sitting on the table were three large rocks and the glass of water. The students started complaining, “It can’t be done. It’s impossible. All that stuff will not fit. The jar is too small.”
The teacher calmly said, “I can put them all in the jar.” The students responded, “Show us.” So they dumped everything back on the table – separated everything and started over. The teacher then took the jar and placed a couple of the big rocks in the jar. He filled in any gaps around the big rocks with the marbles and continued to fill the jar until it was up to the brim with all the big rocks and all the marbles. The teacher then took the sand and slowly poured it into the jar and watched as it cascaded around the rocks and the marbles – filling all the holes and spaces. He then took the glass of water and poured it into the jar. Everything fit perfectly. He then said, “It all fits – but it depends on the order that you put them in the jar – that is a matter of setting priorities. When you set priorities you can make it happen.” (www.sermoncentral.com)
Yes, prioritizing is very important for being able to balance all of your responsibilities and obligations while in college. However, it is even more important to make sure that your relationship with God is your top priority no matter what stage of life you find yourself in. So using this analogy, what would your big rocks be? Prayer, Bible reading, Christian fellowship, worship time, service? Or do those things end up being your marbles that you "fit in" where you can?