The Coffee and the Mayonnaise Jar

When life seems too much, remember the mayonnaise Jar and the Coffee. A professor stood before his class with some items. He picked up a large and empty mayonnaise jar and filled it with golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was. He then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook it lightly. The pebbles rolled into the spaces between the golf balls. He again asked if the jar was full. The students agreed it was. He next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students replied positively. The professor then poured 2 cups of coffee into the jar, filling any empty space between the sand.

He said, ‘This jar represents life. The golf balls are the important things: Allah, your family, children, your Islam; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first there’s no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you won’t have room for things that are important. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your ultimate success. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

Islam teaches that if we make pleasing Allah our top proirity, then Allah shall see that the rest of our life runs smoothly. Likewise, a Muslim should not make sport and other trivialities the focus of life because then the important things like pleasing Allah suffer. One of the students asked what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. ‘No matter how full life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with friends.’