Have you ever heard the phrase: “Put God first in your life, and then everything else will fall into place”? As cliché as that sounds, it’s important that God remain preeminent in our lives, not just prominent.

Mike Sullivan, an instructor at Ethnos360 Bible Institute, relayed a beautiful illustration of making God preeminent from a leadership book he recently read by Max Mills. Here’s an excerpt:

“It matters a tremendous amount who sits in the director’s chair of our life. An equally important truth is that dedication should be in the days of our youth. ’Why is that true?’ Because our lives become very cluttered — filled with so many plans and goals that have nothing to do with the things that God has prepared for us.

A seminar leader introduced the audience to a wide-mouth gallon jar. He then showed them some fist–sized rocks and asked them to guess how many rocks would fit in the jar. The audience made their guesses as he filled up the jar with those large rocks. He then asked, “Is the container full?” They looked at the jar-full of rocks and replied, “Yes.” He smiled, then pulled out some gravel and began pouring it into the jar until it reached the rim. He again asked, “Is it full?” This time the listeners were thinking differently. They replied, “Probably not.”

He affirmed their response while reaching for some sand. Once the sand came to the top, his question returned, “Is it full?” By now the audience was in tune with the ploy. They shouted, “No!” He smiled and began pouring water until the jar was filled to the rim. Then he asked, “What’s the point?” Someone instantly said, “Well, there are gaps, and if you really work at it, you can always fit more into your life.” The reply was rather stern: “No. That’s not the point. The point is this: if you hadn’t put these big rocks in first you would have never gotten them in.”

“If we do not give our greatest attention to the most important decisions (the big things in our life) and make them our highest priority, then something of lesser importance will very quickly take their place and fill up all of the time spaces in our life. Put the big things first!”*

*This illustration is found in Max Mills’s workbook A 9-Session Series on Character Transformation.