There is a great story about an expert who was speaking to a group of business students. He pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them into the jar.
When no more rocks would fit in the jar, he asked his students, “Is the jar full?” Now, the group nodded in agreement, but the expert reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped it into the jar, shaking it occasionally, and he worked the gravel into the spaces between the big rocks. When no more gravel would fit in, the expert looked at the group once again and asked, “Is the jar full?” But the class was on to him. “Probably not,” a person answered. “Good,” the expert replied. And he reached under the table, pulled out a bucket of sand, and worked it into the empty spaces between the rocks and gravel. Once more he asked the group, “Is the jar full?” But they already knew the answer. “No!” they responded. And so, the expert grabbed a pitcher of water, poured it in, and filled the jar to the brim. Then he looked up and said, “The point is this: If you don’t put your big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
As summer turns to fall, there is a lot of sand and gravel that gets poured into our lives, which for me is always a reminder to pay attention to the big rocks—the things that really matter. And I would imagine that the author of Hebrews had something similar in mind when writing: “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more.”
And to that end, let me encourage you as you have encouraged me. Because as summer winds down and fall gets busier, we have the opportunity to put the big rocks first and support one another. And that is what we do when we come together as the family of God. We encourage one another in our worship, fellowship, and service. And we put the biggest rock of all—Jesus—first in our lives as the sand and gravel get poured in all around us.
And so, I hope you have had a wonderful summer, St. Andrew. I have certainly treasured every moment of it as we have shared life together. And I look forward to the fall as we welcome Pastor Hricko back from his sabbatical and continue to encourage and support one another placing Jesus first in response to His great love for us.
In Christ, my friends,
Pastor Steve Miller