Friday, 19 March 2010

Rest - Prayer & Fasting and a story...

I love being in God’s presence. I love corporate worship and I love our times of Prayer and Fasting – three times a year we assemble as Newfrontiers leaders and I love it because I can get away from the demands of church and be in God’s presence for two days with my mates! It forces me to dwell in God’s presence in a way that I don’t tend to do elsewhere. I would suggest that if you find yourself too busy for Prayer and Fasting then you need to look at that.

You may have come across a version of the following illustration but it bears retelling!

A philosophy professor stood before his students with a very large empty glass jar which, without comment, he proceeded to fill with golf balls. He asked them if the jar was now full – they agreed it was. He then took some small pebbles and poured them into the jar where they rolled into the spaces between the golf balls. He asked again if the jar was full. Everyone agreed it was.

Next he poured sand into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up every other space. He asked again if the jar was full and was met with a unanimous ‘Yes’.

Finally, from under his desk he produced two cans of beer and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty spaces between the grains of sand. The students laughed, at which point the professor told them that the jar represented their life.

The golf balls represented the important things – family, children, health, friends and favourite passions. If everything else was lost and only those things remained, life would still be full. The pebbles stood for everything else that matters – like jobs, house and car, while the sand is everything else – the small stuff that crams into our days.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first’ he said, ‘there will be no room for the pebbles or golf balls… 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. Spend time with your children, your parents and grandparents. Take your spouse to dinner. Get your medical check-ups and play those rounds of golf. There will always be time to clean the house and see to household repairs. Set your priorities – the rest is just sand.’

One of the students asked what the beer represented. The professor smiled. ‘The beer shows that no matter how full life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend!’

Amen! Preach it brother!