Then I woke up the next morning and thoughts of what an irresponsible new car owner I am began to hammer away at me. As I walked into the kitchen I noticed a real estate newsletter from a local realtor on the table. The title at the top of the page caught my eye, “The Mayonnaise Jar and a Couple of Beers.” Normally, I’d disregard this as useless junk mail and toss it in the trash - no matter how cute the title. But for some strange reason I felt compelled to stop and read it before I headed out the door to work. And I am so glad I did. This simple reading transformed my thinking. I began to feel very happy as I contemplated it’s meaning. When I finished I felt like I just received encouraging words and a loving hug from grandma before I headed out to school.
The Mayonnaise Jar and a Couple of Beers
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be 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 the things that are important to you.
"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be 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 of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked.
The Beer just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend."
The more I think about this the more incredible the arrival of this "junk mail" becomes. I mean, this George Chung Realtors newsletter was delivered precisely on the perfect day, a day sooner and it would have already been in the trash, a day later and it would have been irrelevant. Then it was left on the kitchen table unintentionally by my wife at night so when I woke up it to get my coffee it would be unavoidable. To top it all off the page with this parable was the side facing up with a title God knew I couldn’t resist. It just goes to show you that we really do get everything we need right when we need it and it usually comes in the most unexpected and miraculous way.