Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything He says. I show God my lack of love and respect for Him by the insensitivity of my heart and mind toward what He says. If I love my friend, I will instinctively understand what he wants. And Jesus said, “You are My friends . . .” (John 15:14). Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not have deliberately disobeyed it. But most of us show incredible disrespect to God because we don’t even hear Him. He might as well never have spoken to us.
The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever He wants, but I just don’t hear Him. The attitude of a child of God should always be, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to Him because my attention is to other things— things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today?
A while back I was reading about an expert on subject of time management.
One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either.
As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then 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, one at a time, into the jar.
When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.
Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him.
“Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”
“No!” the class shouted.
Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!”
“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
The title of this letter is The “Big Rocks” of Life. What are the big rocks in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all.
Death of an Innocent
I went to a party, Mom,
I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom,
so I drank soda instead.
I really felt proud inside, Mom,
the way you said I would.
I didn’t drink and drive, Mom,
even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom,
I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending, Mom,
as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom,
I knew I’d get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me,
so responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom,
but as I pulled out into the road,
the other car didn’t see me, Mom,
and hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom,
I hear the policeman say,
the other guy is drunk, Mom,
and now I’m the one who will pay.
I’m lying here dying, Mom.
I wish you’d get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom?
My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom,
and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom,
I’ll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom,
I swear I didn’t drink.
It was the others, Mom.
The others didn’t think.
He was probably at
the same party as I.
The only difference is,
he drank and I will die.
Why do people drink, Mom?
It can ruin your whole life.
I’m feeling sharp pains now.
Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom,
and I don’t think it’s fair.
I’m lying here dying
and all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother not to cry, Mom.
Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom,
put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave
Someone should have told him, Mom,
not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom,
I would still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom.
I’m becoming very scared.
Please don’t cry for me, Mom.
When I needed you, you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom,
before I say good bye.
I didn’t drink and drive,
so why am I the one to die?
Charles Plum, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a Communist prison. He survived that ordeal and now lectures about lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”
Plumb assured him, “It sure did — if your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform — a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you,’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute? Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.” Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead.
SUGGESTION: Recognize and be gracious to people who pack your daily parachutes, and strengthen yourself to prevail through tough times.