The first time I heard the "rocks in a jar" analogy, I was intrigued. The idea of prioritizing my goals and obligations made complete sense. It was certainly true that unless I put my "big rocks" in my life's jar first, I would never be able to fit in the pebbles, sand, and water as well. And so, for a long time, I was quite content with the standard "rocks in a jar" analogy.
As I've grown older and my spiritual walk has deepened, however, I've begun to wonder if we as believers are looking at our rocks in the wrong light.
What if the water, and not the big rocks, is the most important element?
Jesus called Himself the Living Water. He promised to quench our spiritual thirst with Himself. Our faith in the Living Water should so permeate our lives as to be obvious in everything we do. Since it's the water in the jar and not the rocks that surround and bouy everything else, maybe Christians should focus less on the rocks and more on the water.
How would we go about doing this? I'm no expert when it comes to spiritual growth; after all, I'm the gal who read her Bible every day for 5 years but didn't do anything with what I was reading. But let's examine some ways we can change our perspective by focusing on the water in our lives instead of on the big rocks.
First of all, what do you consider to be your "big rocks" in life? Most of us would probably list things like our marriage, our kids, our careers, and our businesses. The water might represent the little, mundane daily tasks we do, the things we squeeze in where we can, or perhaps it stands for the things we enjoy but don't often get to, like a night out with friends or a craft or a hobby.
Before we go further, may I be bold for a moment? Where does your daily quiet time with God come in? Is it a high priority for you, or is it something you try to fit in when time permits, like adding water to the spaces left after the big rocks and little pebbles are in place? I'm not going to pick on you if you're in the latter camp. If everyone were honest, I personally believe that most of us would fall in the second category.
But if we as believers are looking at our rocks and water backward, we need to be aware that we may also be miss-prioritizing our time with the Savior, too.
This year, I'm making it a point to focus on my water more than my rocks. With my water - my prayer life, my quiet time, my spiritual growth - already in my jar, I can then add in my big rocks - my marriage, my parenting, my homeschooling, etc. - knowing that they will be submerged, surrounded, and supported by my relationship with the Lord.
Yes, this is completely backward way of looking at things. But I'm excited. I want to see what the difference will be as my big rocks are cushioned on the water of prayer and time spent with God.
This doesn't mean that I'm going to be reading my Bible every hour or even that I read my Bible first thing in the morning (although having my quiet time in the mornings is my goal, I'm also giving myself grace to do it later in the day if needed). It does mean, though, that I want to have prayer and Scripture permeating my entire day. By starting my day off with prayer, getting in some Bible study, praying over meals, and reading and memorizing God's Word with the spark plugs, I'm getting little bits of prayer and Scripture sprinkled throughout my day.
I'm thankful that we have Living Water to help support our big rocks! We truly can do nothing apart from God and His Word. By focusing first and foremost on our "water," I'm convinced that our big rocks, small pebbles, and anything else the Lord gives us to do will go much more smoothly than if we start with our big rocks and leave our spiritual growth to fill in as we find time.
What about you? Have you ever looked at your rocks and water with this inverted view? If so, how did it work for you? If not, do you think reversing the analogy might help you keep your eyes on Christ? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!