November 13, 2023

Big Rocks

Devotion for the week...

Have you ever heard of the demonstration where someone uses one large, empty container and four smaller containers full of big rocks, small rocks, pebbles, and sand? The person will ask the audience if they think it's possible to fit the contents of all four containers into the one empty container, which looks impossible. Though the empty container is bigger, it's not four times the size of the smaller ones. The person demonstrating dumps in the sand, which fills the container partway. They then dump in the pebbles on top of the sand, which fills the container past the halfway point. In go the small rocks, and now the container is almost full, leaving room for one or two of the big rocks, but definitely not all of them. 

The person will then bring out a new empty container, identical to the first one, along with another four smaller containers identical to the first set. They'll explain that it is actually possible to fit the big rocks, small rocks, pebbles, and sand all into the larger container at the same time, but it has to be done in the right order. In go the big rocks, one at a time, and they almost fill the larger container all by themselves. But then the person starts to put in the smaller rocks, and they fit in around the big rocks. Then the person pours in the pebbles, which fill in the gaps between the big rocks and the small rocks. The sand follows, filtering down through even the smallest spaces between the rocks to fill in all the remaining space.

This demonstration is often used to show the importance of time management. If we fill our time with the little, insignificant tasks, we often don't have big chunks of time left over to accomplish the big tasks, but if we start with the big tasks, the little ones can fill in the smaller bits of time left over. When I read Matthew 6:33 recently, though, this demonstration was what came to mind, and I realized it can also be used to describe the attitude of our hearts, too.

Jesus told us to "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:33). Do you see the big rock we should be fitting into our hearts first? Seeking His kingdom means giving Him priority in our hearts, which is in contrast to the previous few verses when Jesus had been cautioning the people not to store up treasures on earth (v. 19), not to be enslaved to money (v. 24), and not to worry about their daily needs (vv. 25-31). In other words, the things of this world are not meant to have first place in our hearts. If they're in first place, we've turned them into idols and they've taken the position that rightfully belongs to God. 
We can't fit God into the spaces left between all the other things of life |
We can't fit God into the spaces left between all the other things of life. Instead, we are to put Him first, and then everything else can fit in around Him.

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