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The Dash and the Jar


We're doing well and settling in after our time up north. Many people have heard about our accident, some had read about it on the blog, and some had heard nothing about it. (It's been fun to see who reads the newsy update section my blog posts and who doesn't.) 😉

Our pastor, Drew Conley, said something Sunday - "The longer I live the more I see that life is about saying no to most things so that I can do what really matters" - that reminded me of several really neat things in my files. I sent them out in 1998, shortly after the death of our friend Alain Laurens in France. It's sobering to think how quickly those nearly *nine* intervening years have passed. Our accident on July 4th that could easily have ushered us into eternity reminded us very strongly of the brevity and fragility of life. Life is truly a vapor, as the book of James says.

I've heard and read some who hint that having a blog is a narcissistic waste of time. I hope that's not the case with my blogging. I truly want to bless and challenge others and to spend my little time in this world on what really matters.

THE DASH
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth...
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard...
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")

If we would just slow down enough
to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
as we've never loved them before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile...
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's read
with your life's actions to rehash...
will you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

One day, an expert was speaking to a group of business students. To drive home a point, he used an illustration those students will never forget.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz". Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar, and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top, and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full"? Everyone in the class said, "Yes". Then he said, "Really"? He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full"?

By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not", one of them answered. "Good", he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in, and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full"? "No", the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good". Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration"?

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it". "No", the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is, if you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all".

What are the "big rocks" in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others?

Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. Tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this story, ask yourself this question... what are the 'big rocks" in my life or business?

Then put those in your jar first.

quotation...

"God, deliver me from the dread asbestos of "other things.'" Jim Elliott

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

There are two things I have learned: There is a God. And I'm not Him.


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4 Comments on “The Dash and the Jar”

  1. #1 David McGuire
    on Jul 18th, 2007 at 8:46 am

    May I add this thought to what you have so eloquently shared with us. “What I do, or where I do what I do, is not nearly as important as WHY I do what I do.” You and I, Rob, began this journey as educators several decades ago. How many more years we continue on the journey is in God’s hands, but as long as I am allowed to make this journey, I want to be sure that the WHY is paramount.

    I am so glad that God spared you and your family so that you can continue on the journey that God has prepared for you. Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts with the rest of us.

    And while I am at it, let me share with you this deep theological application. You did hear about the Calvinist who fell down the stairs. When he got up and brushed himself off, he said: “Thank goodness that’s over with!”

  2. #2 Susan
    on Jul 18th, 2007 at 9:38 am

    I just wanted to say that I appreciate your blog so much. Not only does it bring a much needed smile during the busy work week, but your quotations and thought provoking stories turn my mind to Christ as well. Many blogs are a waste of time–lol–but this one is not! Thanks for all you do.

  3. #3 Rhonda
    on Jul 18th, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for the poignant reminders, Rob. I actually remember the jar illustration from your IV so long ago! I guess my memory’s not quite as bad as I thought! 🙂

  4. #4 Mary Jo
    on Jul 19th, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    I always forwarded your iv mail and now I cut and paste from your blogue. I hope you don’t mind, they are so good I want to share them with my friends. Keep up the good work! I love to see the pictures, how fast Drew is growing. The love of God and family shine out in your writing.