What matters most to you? On the surface, this would seem an easy question. To some of us it is whether our favorite sports team does well. That the political candidate we favor will win. That our children do well in school and make us proud--and are happy. Whether God is pleased with us. Whether we have left our mark, however small or subtle, upon the human race.
As a Christian, I knew that for me what matters most is “God”, or at least it should be. But “God” is such a big subject, that surely there is a way to be more concise.
One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and to drive home a point he used an illustration those students will never forget. As he stood in front of high-powered over-achievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” He picked up a one gallon, wide mouth Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. Then he took some fist-sized rocks and placed them one by one in the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and he could fit in no more rocks he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said “yes.” He said, “Really?”
He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in, shook the jar, causing the pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked them once more, “Is this jar full?” By this time, the class was on to him. “Probably not.” one of the students said.
He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all the spaces that were left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No.” the class shouted and he said, “Good.”
Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was full to the brim. Then the expert in time management looked at the class and asked, “What’s the point of this illustration?” One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is if you try really hard you can always fit more things in to it.”
“No.” said the speaker. “That is not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is this—If you don’t put the big rocks in first you will never get them in at all.”
What are the big rocks in your life? Your children, your religion, your loved ones, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others, doing things that you love, your health, your spouse?
Remember to put these big rocks in first or you will never get them in at all. If you sweat the little stuff, the gravel, the sand, you will fill your life with little worries that don’t really matter. You will never have the real quality time that you need to spend on the big stuff.
What is the biggest rock of all? What matters most? In Matthew 22:36-38 we read, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
What matters most in life is love. The Apostle John tells us in 1John 4:16 “We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition. Love is not just something good in your life; it’s the most important part. Love should be what matters most.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:1 To let love be your highest goal. It’s not enough to say “One of the things I want in life is to be loving” as if it’s in your top ten list. Loving relationships must have priority in your life above everything else. Let love be your highest goal. Why? Because life without love is really worthless.
Paul makes this point in Corinthians 13:2,3 “I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to the poor, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.”
Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.”
Barbara Bush said, “What matters most is how you treat others and not what you have done”.
It is not enough just to say that love is important, we must prove it by investing time in our relationships with God and people.