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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Oriented with Bearing and Lost

Today I led the second half of a Map and Compass Clinic.  The first half was three weeks ago at an outdoor store at which I work part time.  Today we were in an urban wilderness.  The objective was to navigate from one pond to another about half a mile away, and then navigate from that pond to one a half mile further, using only map and compass.
Oriented with Bearing and Lost
There are so many lessons here that apply to our Christian life that it is hard to single out one.  I will let you draw your own conclusions from what I am about to share.

Navigating with a map and compass is not really all that hard.  I taught all of my kids to do it when my youngest was 11.  There are essentially three steps:
  • Orient your map to North
  • Line up your compass along the direction you want to go
  • Turn the rose of the compass to get your bearing.
Then to use the bearing you have determined:
  • Align your compass so that the north arrow is pointing north and pointing at north on the compass rose without turning the rose.
  • The arrow of the compass will now be pointing at your bearing
  • Pick a point at which the arrow is pointing.
  • Walk to that point
  • Repeat until you reach your destination
Trust me, it works every time.  I did it last week to make sure the map I was giving the participants worked over a mile and a half course that was not trivial to walk.  I did it today from our starting point to the second objective of the participants, to a spot I had not ever seen.

So there were three groups of two.  The first group oriented their map, I helped them with this, in three weeks they had forgotten.  They got their bearing, found a point and headed toward that point.

All of the groups had their bearings at that point.  So after 5 minutes the second group found their point and then started off in another direction.

The third group did the same as the second group.

Only the first group followed directions.  Only the first group made it to either of the objectives.  The second and third group got completely lost.

That was my morning.  Two thirds of the people I showed how to navigate ignored what I told them and they failed.  The group that did what I told them to do succeeded.

Do you see the connection to the Christian life?

1 comment:

  1. An amazing story! For one thing, I'm glad that at least 1/3 of people are learning how to use a map and compass and not an app on their cell phones.

    The book of Proverbs comes to mind. For example Ch. 3:1,2: "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life, and peace they will add to you."

    A couple of times my ability to read a map and follow my compass could have resulted in my life being several of years shorter than it is so far. And I'm not even a pilot.

    The spiritual landscape is far more dangerous than the physical world. The difference is eternity.

    Following God's instructions is the difference between eternal life in heaven or hell. For the believer it's the difference between a life of God's blessings and frustration and loss at the end. I'd rather have years of life and peace, especially in the midst of loss and suffering that comes into every one of our lives.