I’ve used a particular illustration for years that comes out of the business management world. All the management guru’s use it, Drucker, Peters, Deming, but most popularly, Covey. It’s a simple yet powerful illustration using a large bucket representing the constraint of time and an array of various size rocks and gravel representing all the stuff we need to do.
As the different elements are systematically placed and poured into the bucket, it appears to be a demonstration about how, through sound time managing and hard work, you can always fit more than you might imagine into your day, week, month…and life. Whether that is true or healthy is another matter, but the point of the demonstration simply and profoundly turns in the end: If you don’t put the big rocks in first…the important things in life…you won’t likely ever fit them in.
Our family uses forms of that concept often, “Hey, let’s get the big rocks in first.” “Is that a big rock or a small rock?” “We may have too many big rocks. We’re going to have to re-evaluate our priorities.” We say it often, and it helps a lot: Big Rocks. We don’t say, “Big Boulders.” We don’t use the phrases, “Big Blocks,” “Big Things,” “Big Apples,” etc. Only, “Big Rocks.” We don’t substitute words like bricks, chunks or logs in place of rocks. You could…it wouldn’t damage the illustration…we just don’t. Rocks works fabulously well.
Having just completed a sermon series essentially covering four of the important teachings of the Apostles, it was a useful reference, “To keep the gospel message pure and simple, make sure to always remember these four “Big Rocks”: Mission of God: Reconciliation (2 Cor 5), Character of God: Inclusive Mercy (Luke 4, Is 61, Jesus) , the Son of God: Forgiveness (John 3:16-17), and the Kingdom of God: Faith(Mark 1, Rom 1, Heb 11).
It’s worth your time to find the video of Stephen Covey on the Net using the Big Rocks illustration. Simply Google, “covey big rocks first“. Just make sure you use the word “rocks.” Don’t mistakenly substitute words like I did Sunday morning. That would produce undesirable Google results.