Big Rocks Go in First (Rebelling Against Exhaustion, Part 1)
"I'm so busy."
"We've got a really full schedule this month."
These aren't just the things I hear people saying to me as a pastor. They are the things I find myself saying, as well. Being busy is not a sin, and a full schedule isn't necessarily a bad sign. And yet we live in a culture that is beginning to turn exhaustion into a virtue, a culture that has no concept of Sabbath rest. I'd like to spend a few blog posts examining how we get caught up in being busy and why that is a spiritual problem. And the first thing I'd like to suggest is that filling your glass with sand and leaving the big rocks out is unhealthy.
Let me explain. Perhaps you've heard variations of this illustration before. You take a large glass and fill it about half full with sand. Then you take a pile of small pebbles and fill it most of the rest of the way. Then you see if you can cram three or four larger rocks into the glass. Now, a clever student will cover the glass and shake it until the sand and pebbles settle, making room for perhaps ONE large rock on the top. But three? Forget about it.
And yet everything can fit - really, it can! Just empty the glass and then put the large rocks in first. Then the pebbles. Then the sand. Believe it or not, you can even add water to the glass.
The point is, our time and energy, like the space in the glass, is limited. Too often, we fill the glass to the top without having made room for the big rocks - our families, Sabbath rest, etc. Looking at a full glass and trying to find room for a big rock can be disheartening.
So the big rocks go in first: Take a "no compromise" position on Sunday worship. Insist on a weekly day of rest. Set aside regular time with you spouse and guard it zealously. Pray daily. Make sure the big rocks go in first, then fit everything else in around those priorities.
There is always something you could add to your calendar. There is ALWAYS more you could be doing. There are pebbles and sand without limit, filling a glass is easy. Part of the wisdom of God's command to rest is that forces us to remember that, simply because we can to more doesn't mean we must do more.
In the next article, we'll look at how the compulsion to stay busy is a warning sign of idolatry.