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August 2008

Big Rocks

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In "First Things First," Stephen Covey tells a story that was told him. I don’t know the sources, so I will embellish a bit.  

There was a speaker who was called upon to address a group of young people. As a prop, he pulled out a wide-mouth gallon jar and placed it next to a pile of fist-sized rocks, another pile of gravel, a jar of sand, and a glass of water.


“Who believes I can get all of this into this one gallon jar?” The question evoked some chuckling. No one raised their hand.


After filling the jar to the top with rocks, he asked, "Is the jar full?"

The group replied, "Yes."


He then took the pile of gravel and began to pour it in. He jiggled the jar until the gravel filled the spaces between the rocks.


Again, he asked, "Is the jar full?"


By now, the group cautiously replied, "Probably not."


The speaker then added the sand and asked, "Is the jar full?"


"No!" shouted the group.


Finally, the speaker filled the jar to the brim with water and asked the group the point of this illustration.


Someone replied that you could always fit more things into your life if "you really work at it."

"No," countered the speaker. The point is, if that if you don't put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get any of them in.


What are the big rocks in your life? I’d like to suggest a few for your consideration:


1. Do not neglect the rock of FAITH:


a. Have faith in the power of TRUTH – and by that, I suggest to you, ultimate truth, a higher power, God if you will.


b. Have faith in the power of TENACITY. Keep on keeping on. Don’t give up. Persist and insist on a successful outcome and work toward it.



c. Have faith in the power of TENURE – By that I mean, time invested and time passed. Be patient with temporary setbacks and inconveniences.


d. Have faith in the power of TEAMWORK. Work together. TEAM stands for – Together Everyone Accomplishes More!


 "Gettin' good players is easy. Gettin' 'em to play together is the hard part." - Casey Stengel 


"The strength of the team is each individual member...the strength of each member is the team."- Coach Phil Jackson Chicago Bulls  


"Men have never been individually self-sufficient." - Reinhold Niebuhr


" All winning teams are goal-oriented. Teams like these win consistently because everyone connected with them concentrates on specific objectives. They go about their business with blinders on; nothing will distract them from achieving their aims. " - Lou Holtz 


``Now is the Law of the Jungle---as old and true as the sky;

And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back---

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.''
- Rudyard Kipling


2. Do not neglect the rock of FAMILY: You are here because you believe in family and have committed yourself to strengthening families. You have been sharpening your skills for that purpose. You are already heroes and deserve praise. Now, do not neglect your own family.


a. If you do not have a warm family, CREATE it! Gather folks around you with whom you can be accountable, authentic, and supportive. If your family is dysfunctional, you will also be in creative mode by setting and observing strong boundaries and creating a safe zone of functionality around yourself. When Rich Mullins, the song writer and leader of the Ragamuffin Band died, there was a traveling funeral that moved from city to city, mostly on university campuses because it was said that Rich created communities wherever he went.


b. CULTIVATE family. Like a garden, a warm and nurturing family must grow. To grow, it needs the sunlight of truth, the food of love, and the water of life.


c. Third, we must all make it a point to COMMUNICATE as families and develop healthy communication skills which we can pass on to our children. Strong and nurturing families that resolve conflict with healthy communication, fair “fighting,” and unconditional love are the hope of society because the skills children learn in families, they practice in the larger community and world.


3. Do not neglect the rock of the FUTURE. Become futurists. That means to begin to live a life of hope and optimism in a dark world.


a. Have a WINNING attitude. Your future will rise or fall on your attitude.


b. Translate I WANT to I WILL! Then, will it and do it!


c. Then, WORK toward a brighter future for, after all is said and done, the big rock of success, which is a journey and not a destination, is a four letter word spelled simply: W-O-R-K.


Don’t forget the big rocks in these difficult times and be blessed:



Times are tough.
You are tougher. Face the times.


Life is hard.
You are resilient. Keep moving forward.


The future is uncertain.
God is already there. Do not be afraid.


Hope is a rare commodity.
Hope is within the grasp of your imagination. Let it soar.


Money is scarce.
You have all you need in a seed. Plant it and watch it grow.


You are discouraged.
There is a great dream within you. Feed it, follow it, fulfill it.


You deeply desire a blessing.
Be a blessing.


You lack courage.

Encourage someone else.


You have nothing left to give.
Give what only God can supply.


You are frightened of failure.
Risk everything to be all you can be.


These are not idle words. This is how you must live if you will live above your circumstances.


Weighing all possible outcomes of the choices you can make right now, to do nothing, risk nothing, and give nothing will insure that nothing will come back to you. You will be a success in the art of failure by default.


However, if you risk extending yourself, you may also fail, but you will fail with the satisfaction of trying and with all the lessons you can only learn by climbing out on a limb.


But you might also succeed. Out on that limb, when circumstances cut it from under  you, you may discover that you can fly.


You'll never find out without taking the big risk.


Take the risk, get the big rocks in place, and be blessed.


- Tom Sims

Big Rock Productions and Workshops to Go –