14310414_10210852153643535_7421805148393610230_oI have noticed that God has a very creative way of making spiritual truths come to life for His children. It is as if He wants to make sure you get what He is teaching you in His Word, and so He will place you in situations where you get the opportunity to live biblical principles.
          This is exactly what I experienced recently when I had an unexpected divine appointment on the beach with a young Christian man named Peter. I was prepping for a talk I was doing later in the week at a Christian women’s conference and had driven out to Santa Monica for a very specific purpose. In my talk I was going to do a demonstration for which I needed two rocks and a lot of sand, and the beach, of course, was the place to find these items.
          Here is how the demonstration works: I hold an empty glass jar up in front of my audience and explain that the jar represents the days of our lives; what each of us has room for. Next, I get a bucket filled with sand and slowly pour all the sand into the jar. I tell my onlookers that the sand represents all those pressing little things that we have to tend to on a regular basis. Such as cooking dinner, getting a haircut, paying bills, returning emails, driving our kids to activities, scheduling doctor’s appointments, shopping, exercising, and on and on. It is an endless list, as we all know.
          I then try to force the two rocks into the jar. It can’t be done. There is not enough room left as the jar is filled to the brim with sand. “As you can see,” I tell my audience, “if we start with all the little things – if we first fill our jar with sand – the big rocks of life aren’t going to fit.”
          I continue, “And what are the big rocks of life? Well, there are only two according to Jesus. There are two critical things that we are called to do in life, namely to love God and love people. These, Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40, are the most important commandments.”
          Next, I pour the sand back into the bucket so that the jar is once again empty. Then I start over. But this time I use a different strategy, beginning with the rocks. I place the two rocks at the very bottom of the jar and ask this question: “But what happens if you put the big rocks first – the two most important things in life, namely to love God and people – and then add the sand; all the rest of your tasks and activities?”
          The audience watches with anticipation as I slowly pour the sand back into the jar. And, would you believe it, every little grain of sand now fits perfectly, filling in all the cracks between and around the rocks! I screw the lid on the jar and conclude: “The lesson here is pretty simple. When we put God first, everything else falls into place. In the words of Christ Himself, in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
          So, this was the demonstration I was prepping for. This was the reason I had gone to the beach the day that the Lord decided to put Peter on my path. (I originally found the analogy in an article where it was used to talk about prioritizing in general. I liked it so much that I decided to apply it specifically to the spiritual aspects of life and use it in my talks.)
          After filling my glass jar with sand and finding two nice rocks on the beach that I figured would do the trick, I decided to enjoy the sun for a few minutes before returning home.
          I was lying down on my towel with my eyes closed. A little while later when I opened them again, I noticed that a stranger (Peter) had come and sat down close by. He kept glancing over at the jar, an intrigued look on his face. Finally, he asked with a grin, “Sand? Do you collect sand as a souvenir?”
          I laughed and said I was going to use the jar, sand, and rocks for a presentation. I explained what the different things represented and that it was an illustration about putting God and people first. Peter’s face lit up. “You’re a Christian?” he asked. I said I was, and he excitedly responded that he was, too.
          We continued to chat, and within minutes we were completely comfortable with each other. (You know how it is when you meet another believer: you immediately have a connection point and no lack of things to talk about!)
          As it turned out, Peter was going through some trials. And I got the opportunity to encourage him with my testimony about how the Lord had worked in my life through my struggles, leading me out of the secular business world and into Christian speaking. Peter kept exclaiming, “Wow! Wow!” It appeared that my testimony really struck a chord with him.
          The two of us had a wonderful, long conversation about the goodness of God, and we even joined hands and prayed for each other before leaving the beach. It was as if we had known each other for years.
          Peter then offered to carry the glass jar for me all the way to my car, which I was extremely thankful for since it was so heavy I could barely lift it. It was my first time giving this particular demonstration at a conference, and I had no idea the jar was going to be that heavy once I filled it with sand! As I was lying there on the beach, before Peter came and sat down, I had been wondering how in the world I was going to get the jar back to my car. And then the Lord sent me a helper!
          But perhaps the most amazing thing of all was that God brought my sand-in-jar analogy to life right before my eyes. Just think about it: This was for a presentation about seeking God’s Kingdom before all. And as I myself put this principle into practice, everything else fell into place.
          Without even realizing it, I did precisely what the demonstration taught. I put the two “rocks” first. I focused on loving God by proclaiming His goodness and loving a fellow human being (Peter) by taking the time to encourage him. As a result I got my practical needs met when Peter offered to carry the jar to my car! (I also got a pretty cool story to share with my audience when I performed my jar demonstration at the conference later that week).
          Only God can make stuff like that happen. Only He can pull everything so beautifully together. And what it does is prove to me that the Bible is not like any other book. His Word is not just letters on a page. It is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). And when you put biblical truths into action, God moves and life works the way it is supposed to.