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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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THE MAYONNAISE JAR AND THE COFFEE CUP

When things in your family life become too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the story of the mayonnaise jar and the coffee cup.

A professor stood before his philosophy class on the first day of the semester. As class began, without a word, he picked up a large, 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.

The professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. As he shook it lightly, the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked again if the jar was full. The students again said it was. He then took out a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand fit in the crevices. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a hesitant "yes." He then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured their entire contents into the jar. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, "this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your God, your family, your spouse, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions—things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, would still make your life 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 things that are important. Pay close attention to things that are critical to your happiness. Take your wife out to dinner. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Maybe even play another 18. There's always 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 student raised her hand to inquire what the coffee represented. He smiled and replied, "I'm glad you asked. It just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established" —Proverbs 4:26 son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother" —Proverbs 4:3