Friday 29 April 2011

The important things in life.

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 jar and started to fill it with golf balls.

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

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He asked once again if the jar was full and 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. So he asked once more if the jar was full. The students laughed and replied '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.

'Now,' said the professor, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.'

'The golf balls are the important things - God, family, children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.'

'The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and 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. So... pay attention to the things that are critical to your life and your happiness. Spend time in prayer. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner ... and so on. '

'There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.'

'Take care of the golf balls first ... The things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.

'I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.'


  1. Victor,
    I have heard this story before, but I never tire of it because it is such a vivid visual of how we need to keep our priorities straight. Those minor little things do pass through our lives like shifting sand.
    Thanks for sharing this here.
    God bless!

  2. Great advice! I've never heard this story before, Victor, and it definitely puts things in the proper perspective.

  3. Victor

    Like Karinann I have heard this story before but never tire of being reminded. Mainly because two days after hearing it I go back to filling up my jar with sand...

    I think I may write an alternate version to this story someday, and add a soccer ball (or football on your side of the pond) to it. The soccer ball would be God. THEN we can start adding golf balls and marbles. What do you think?

    God Bless you.

  4. Hello Karinann, Mary and Michael,

    I received this story by email a few days ago and thought I would share it.

    You're right Michael that God should be the first priority in everyone's life. Sadly in this materialistic world this is not always so.

    God bless.

  5. This is a good illustration, and it's the second time I've heard it in the last month or so. I think God is telling me something. I'm trying to slow down, but I'm bogged down with all the sand. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I'm afraid I've forgotten about my passions in the last year. Focusing on the pebbles but not seeming to get anything done.

    This really helps me Victor.

    God bless you, and thank you for this story.


  7. Greetings Sarah and Joey,

    As humans, we often lose our focus and concentrate on our own problems however big or small; rather than focus on God above and the important things in our lives.

    God bless you both and your families.



God bless you.