Golf balls…..small white balls struck by a club in an attempt to get the ball inside a hole hundreds of yards away. A game many in my industry play several times weekly. I myself have only been to a driving range and hit balls once. That was enough for me.
This weekend, I heard a simple story about “Golf Balls” that really hit home…..

The Professor and the Jar By Author Unknown
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 that it was.

So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. 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 an 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 space between the grains of sand.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions – things that if everything else 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, and 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 your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. “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.”

I didn’t write that story but it hit home close enough that I wanted to put it here as a reminder to myself. I take life for granted. I work entirely too much and when I am not at work, I am working at home, cutting the grass, cleaning up the basement, etc.
Everytime I turned around, Steph, in her loving way, would remind me not to miss the golf balls. It drove me crazy. Not because she was nagging, which she wasn’t, but because she was right. I paid more attention to email this weekend than I did to her. In a sense, I put so much sand in the jar, I had no room for my golf ball.

Right now, a lot of people close to me are in a valley. A valley a lot darker than the one Steph and I just came through with her job. My uncle who has been an incredible Christian influence and role model for me my entire life, is in Florida right now at a cancer specialist. My mom #2, (steph’s mom) is waiting test results today for cancer. Both of them are very special to me and both of them I know will come through this with flying colors, yet both I know are scared and both I know are putting their trust in God to get them through this. Their situations made ours seem so trivial and non important.

I am not a person of strong faith. The events in my life that I come through with God’s help are soon forgotten in times of crisis. That is why I believe God puts us through trials, to depend on Him and to grow our faith. He really came through for Steph and I. Now she has a job that will carry us through her classes and she can find the job He has for her. That “valley” not only helped to grow my faith, but also helped to remind me of how many times there were only one set of “footprints…..that God was carrying me through the storm.”

Dear God,
Once again, you have shown me that you are there. You provided Steph with a job and now may have opened up another door. You brought my dad through his tests. You provided Derrick’s family with a job and insurance that they needed just in time. How soon I forget that you are there. Help me to know that you are there for those close to me who need you the most right now. Be with them and lift them up, like you have for me so many times.

Oh and God, if Shelia TRYS to sing another Third Day song…….well, You know what to do…..