The Big Rocks

Most people occasionally ask the question, “Why Am I here?” or “Why Am I Alive?” George Cameron thinks about those questions every night. Cameron asks that question because he is alive today due to the kidney donation of Clay Jones, a high school football player in Texas who died when struck by lightning.

Cameron doesn’t know the answer to that question other than to say that it means that God must have some purpose for his still being alive. Cameron says a lot of his life was spent in what he calls careless living. “I gambled to excess, I drank to excess, I didn’t take care of myself.” But knowing that he carries the kidney of such a blameless young man has affected him greatly. He now works harder at being patient and loving and respectful of life and other people.

Feelings of heightened spirituality are universal among organ recipients according to Lisa Kory, executive director of the Transplant Recipients International Organization. “They are so filled with awe and inspiration…they want to be a better father, brother, sister and worker.

I am not an organ transplant recipient but after dying on the operating table for four minutes on July 10, 2010 I can certainly relate to George Cameron. I think about the questions “Why me? Why did God answer the prayers for my life when others more worthy die? Why am I here?” every day. Although I don’t know the ultimate answers I do know that God must have a reason for sparing my life. I believe the experience has made me a better person. For sure it has made me more thoughtful of the priorities of my life. Prioritizing has gone from mildly important to very important.

An expert on time management drove home how I feel about prioritizing with the following illustration. He lifted a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. He then placed, one at a time, 12 fist sized rocks into the jar. When no more rocks would fit, he asked the audience if they believed the jar to be full. They said that they did and he then reached under the table and produced a bucket of gravel. He scooped it into the jar and then shook it, thus causing the gravel to fill the spots between the rocks. He ask the same question again and this time, there were mixed replies. He took another box out from under that table and it was filled with sand. Dumping it in, it filled the gaps between the gravel and rocks. He asked the same question for a third time and no one said anything. He then pulled out from under the table a pitcher of water and began pouring it in until the jar was filled to the brim. He then said that the point of this illustration is that “if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you will never get them in at all.”

I have discovered a hard truth as I have become more concerned with the priorities of my life. I don’t always know what the “big rocks” are! As I discover them now I put them carefully into my “jar” first.

How about you? Do you know what the big rocks in your life are?

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