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Determine your priorities in life

OPINION by Jim Davidson | September 5, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

When a human being is born and comes into the world, one of the most precious gifts he is given is something we call time. The American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, once said, "Time is the shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock, these are but arbitrary and outward signs, the measure of time, but not time itself. Time is the life of the soul." Unless we have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to death, the amount of time we each have is not ours to know. However, we do know that how we use our time while we are here, whether we use it wisely or waste it, will determine our success or failure as a human being.

In these days when we must purchase most of our basic needs from others, this is to say, goods and services, time has become money. This fact has resulted in a dilemma that has produced stress, high blood pressure, heart disease and other medical conditions that take a toll on millions of people in our nation every year. This is exacerbated by the fact that an ever increasing tax burden, especially the hidden tax of inflation, has caused the pace of life to the point that we meet ourselves coming back from places where we should never have gone in the first place.

Along these lines, a friend sent me something the other day that has a wonderful message and something every person caught in the rat race, should think about from time to time. When things in your life seem too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the coffee. Several years ago at a small college in upstate New York, a professor stood before his philosophy class and has some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked his students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor next 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 his 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 a unanimous "Yes." The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the entire 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 God, your family, your children, your friends and your favorite passions -- things that 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." He continued, "If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Now, I don't know about you but this example really places things in our life, mine and yours, into perspective. We only have so much time in each day, and don't know when our life will end, so we need to determine our priorities and what is important to us. We only go around once, so let's make the most of it. God bless, Jim -- For a personally signed copy of my new book 'Your Future Begins Today' send $20 (includes postage & handling) to Jim Davidson, 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.

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