Life Is Like A Jar of Rocks

Children's Object Lesson on Important Things | by Darnell Fugate

* Magic Markers (enough for all children)
* Jar of sour pickles, large enough to have one for each child
* Baby food jars (one for each child)
* Tub of rocks
* Tub of pebbles (colored aquarium pebbles work fine)
* Tub of sand
* Pitcher of water
* Glue
* Bowl (to pour pickle juice in)

Today we are going to have a lesson on remembering what the most important things in our lives are and learn why we should remember to always take the time for them every day.

Okay, are we ready? (have only the jar of sour pickles showing on the table)

Here is a jar of sour pickles that we are going to eat, because I need an empty jar for this lesson. Who likes sour pickles? If you want one to eat, raise your hand. (give out the pickles and pour out juice into the bowl).

Now that we’ve eaten our pickles I’ll begin the lesson.

JAR (You)

Does everyone have a jar in front of them? This jar is “YOU”! Boy, we sure did change shape, didn’t we?

I want each of you to take a magic marker and write your name on your jar. I’m big so I will pretend this sour pickle jar is me and write ‘Ms. Darnell’ on it.

Does everyone see the tub of rocks on your table?

ROCKS (Important Things)

Let’s see if we can come up with some really important things we can have these ‘rocks’ stand for, or to represent. They have to be things that are the very most important in our life, things that if we lost everything else and only these things remain, our lives would still be happy.

Examples: father, mother, brother, sister, health, food, air, water, health, etc.

Fill yourselves with rocks. Get your jar as full as you can without going past the top as you will put a lid on your jar when we are through with this lesson.

Has everyone filled themselves full of as many of the ‘most important things’ they can? Can you get any more inside your jar? (of course, they will say no)

Are you sure? What are we going to do about the other things that matter? Things we could live without if we really had to? Who can tell me what some of those things could be?

Let’s see what can we put in us if we are already full?

Hmmmmm (look at the jar closely and act as if you are thinking very hard and then bring out the Pebbles)

PEBBLES (Important things, but things we could live without) 

I know! We’ll have these Pebbles stand for those things and they will fit into our jars!

Examples: job, house, car, friends, education, dreams, worthy cause(s), etc.

Without going past the top of your jar I want each of you to put in as many ‘important things’ as you can without going over the top.

Can you get anything else in you now or are you really full? (they’ll all most likely say No!)

Well, there are lots more things in our lives we like to do, isn't there? How about the small stuff, stuff that we some times do and we forget about the important things… you know, the stuff we “ENJOY” doing? Who can tell me what is something you enjoy doing? 

Examples: television, radio, computer, toys, projects, sports, play, etc.

Let’s see what can we put in our jars to stand for the things we enjoy doing, the small stuff… what can we add if we are already full? Hummmmm?

Here you go! (bring out the sand)

SAND (things we do that get in the way of doing important things)

This sand will be everything else: The small stuff.

The only problem with having too much small stuff in your life is you forget or don’t take the time to take care of the important things in your life first since these are the things we like to do all the time if we could.

We each need to remember the things that are truly important to us, the Rocks, and make sure we don’t have more ‘Pebbles’ and ‘Sand’ in our lives that won’t give us time to take care of the our ‘Rocks’ first.

Let’s all try to make sure we don’t have more small stuff (sand and pebbles) in our lives that we don’t take enough time to take care of our (rocks) first. Take time to talking and playing with your parents, brothers, sisters and other family members first. There will always be time to play with your friends and watch television.

Okay, I am going to ask you once again, are our jars really, really full now? (you will most likely have a unanimous Yes!)

Well, we are in BIG TROUBLE if we can’t get anything else in us, because we have left out the very most important person of all! Who knows who that person is? (God or Jesus)

How in the world can we add God if we just don’t have any more room in us?

Let’s see, we are already so full . . .Hummmmm . . .  (bring out the water)

WATER (God/Jesus)

We will use water for God/ Jesus. He will fill you up and helps hold everything else all together.

We will now glue the lids on the jars so God/ Jesus, will always be inside of us. After we glue on the lids you can tie the ribbon with the tag around the jar lid. I guess we will call the lid our head. (glue the lids on the jars)

I’m sure when your parents see you they will want to know what you are doing with a jar of rocks, pebbles and sand. I hope each of you can tell them about how you are the jar and why you are full of rocks, pebbles and sand. Most importantly, don’t forget to tell them about the water, as we always want God to be inside us and hold us together; we never want Him to go away.

Make a tag to attach to jar and have it read: 

~~~ Life is Like a Jar of Rocks ~~~
JAR: This is you.
ROCKS: The MOST important things in your life.
PEBBLES: Important things, but things you can live without if you had to.
SAND: Things you just like to do that usually take time from the important things.
WATER: God, who holds us all together.

Copyright 2006 Darnell Fugate 
Wheeler Heights Baptist Church
Macon, Georgia

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