I’m going to need some help for this.
Can you fill this jar with sand please? And now with marbles. And now with rocks. Won’t fit? Ok, start again.
How about, marbles first, then sand then rocks? No?
Let’s see if it fits with rocks first, then marbles then rocks. This is our life.
The rocks signify what’s important in our life – family, relationships, our world – creation, God.
The marbles are those things we need to do – shopping, gardening, clearing out the drains, washing – the tasks of life.
The sand is the stuff of life that we often do first but is probably meaningless, or at the very least distracting – scrolling through our social media feeds – facebook, insta, tik tok – ask a teenager! Binge watching that Netflix series.
Priorities. What are our priorities in life? What do you fill up your life with? The big stuff or the small stuff that gets between your toes and is quite frankly a little annoying?
Our man in the story this morning was concerned with wealth; the accumulation, acquisition and storage of wealth. It consumed him, took over his life to the detriment of his ability to enjoy anything else. He thought it was a big rock and that everything else should fit in around it. But his priorities were skewed.
This jar signifies our life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as God, family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful.
The marbles are the other things that matter in our life, such as work or school, and the tasks we need to do. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.
If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to our lives.
If we spend all our time and energy on the small stuff, we will never have room for the things that are truly important.
We need to pay attention to the things in life that are critical to our happiness and well-being. Take time with the creator of the universe, look around with gratitude and wonder, play with your children and grandchildren, go for a walk or a run, write your grandmother a letter. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, or unblock the drains. Take care of the rocks first – things that really matter. The rest is just marbles and sand.
Today is a good opportunity as we come together in worship to thank our creator God for all that he has abundantly provided, for us to pause, maybe take stock of our rocks, marbles and sand in the light of God’s grace, and to perhaps re-evaluate our jars a little.
Rev’d Kia Pakenham 1st October 2023