What Matters Most?

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt     

October 6, 2013

Series: What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?

Week 2: What Matters Most?  

Mark 12:28-34

 A well-known time management guru gave a speech one day at a top-drawer business school. As he stood in front of a class of high-powered achievers, he said, “Ok, time for a quiz.” He pulled out a one-gallon, wide – mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He then produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them in the jar.

After filling the jar to the top, he asked, “Is this jar full?’ 

Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”

“Really?” he asked. Then he reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He poured the gravel into the jar, shaking as he did, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more “Is the jar full?”

By now the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.

“Good answer” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He dumped the sand into the jar, filling the spaces between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked, “Is this jar full?” 

“No!” the class shouted.

Once again he said, “Good answer.”  Then he took a pitcher of water and poured it until the jar was filled to the brim. He looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager student said, “No matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always put more into it.”

“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

So what are the big rocks? What matters most? We read about a man who asked Jesus that question: “What’s the greatest commandment?” In short, the man was saying “There are a lot of laws I am supposed to follow; but what matters most?”

Religion spends a lot of time focusing on the list you are supposed to follow. To the world such religion seems like a check list.  If you check them all off, you are in.  If not, you are out.  For some the list is about the end times.  For others it is about when and how a person should be baptized. For some it’s about social issues.  No matter what is on the list the danger is the same – the list becomes what matters most.

And such religion doesn’t have any space for the big rocks.  

And the big rocks are the most important

I’m not sure if the Beatles had Jesus’ words in mind when they wrote …

“All you need is love,

  All you need is love,

  All you need is love, love.

  Love is all you need.” 

 “Which is most important of all the commandments?”

In verses 29-31, Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

The priority is love. When we do that, everything else just falls into place. When we don’t do that, nothing we say or do matters.