The Mayonnaise Jar And Wisdom

    When I speak of inspiring words of wisdom, I speak of simple things. Law means “a rule of action” but there are greater principles and higher values above laws. When the woman was caught in the very ‘act of adultery’, her accusers said, “The law says stone her, what do you say?” After writing on the ground, the great teacher said, “Let him that be without sin, cast the first stone”. Mercy is a principle of grace that often rises above strict or strident law.
    James writes, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom . . . The wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure; then peace loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:13-17).
    Listen to the words of the Master teacher when he said, “Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rains poured down, rivers flooded and winds beat against that house, but it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who builds a house on sand. The rain poured down and rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash.
    When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. He taught them as someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses” (Matthew 7:24-28 -CEV).
    When things in your life seem almost too much to handle; when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar . . . and the coffee. Thanks to the Internet (author unknown) for this story of wisdom.
    A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items 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 golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
    Next, the professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and 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 nodded and laughed.
    “Now”, said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this mayonnaise jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passion – things that if everything else in life 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 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 lasting happiness. Family, marriage, children, medical check-ups. Build your life upon a solid rock, and the storms of life that come will pass you by. There will always be some time to clean the house, polish the car, paint the barn, and fix little things.”
    “Take care of the golf balls fist, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand”.
    One of the students raised her hand and inquired, “What does the coffee represent?”
    The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”
    Personal note: A special word of thanks to Michael Leonard (Publisher), and Todd Wilson (Editor), for the invitation to resume writing this column. The six month hiatus perhaps were good for both me and the paper. It’s good to be back.


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