Useless Maps. Seeds to Life, Part 7

"Is this the right way?"                                                            "Ja, ja!"

In this series we have discovered that we can react in 4 different ways to the messages of God. But those who have decided to let God's seeds germinate in their heart need guides in their lives, and God has given us three. The first and most important of these is referred to as the map for our lives: God's Word, the Bible. None of the guides God has given us will ever contradict this map.

Have you ever gotten lost, even though you had a map?

I have decided that maps are not what they used to be. Especially the generic, free kind! They may give a general idea of where certain cities can be found, but they lack the details of more expensive maps.

While driving through Austria, we had to wonder why we were continually finding ourselves headed in the wrong direction. Our host at the bed and breakfast where we were staying shed some light on the situation. After trying to show us the route we should take on our free map, he said, "How can you get by with such a map!" Needless to say, we spent the day making multiple u-turns and wondering where all the towns we drove through mysteriously came from.

Finally, after stopping for the hundredth time to ask local people for directions, we decided to stop at the next gas station and purchase a more reliable map. With this goal in mind, we set out. The only problem was, we didn't have any idea where the next gas station might be, and once again, we found ourselves utterly lost.

As my wife was driving, I was the one closest to the sidewalk that the elderly gentleman was walking down. I lowered my window, and in my quasi deformed German, I asked him: "Excuso bitte, waar ist the closest gasoline?"

He looked at me funny. Had I said something wrong?

"Gasoline???" He repeated.

"Ja, Ja, gasoline for the auto," I replied.

"Gasoline???" He said again.

I could only guess he was somehow stuck on that word, so I tried my best to communicate my request using gestures. I pretended to have a nozzle in my hand and was sticking it in a make-believe car, but to him my gestures must have looked more like a deadly snake that I was trying to push into his hands, because he backed away.

All of a sudden his face lightened up and a string of unintelligible (to me, anyway!) words escaped from his lips: "Möchten sie benzene finden?"

I had no idea what he said, but my wife, who had taken German in school, was nodding and saying, "Ja!", so what possible harm could there be in agreeing with the frightened old man? I nodded my head, too: "Ja, ja."

Unfortunately for me, he then began rattling off directions in German, directions to what I could only hope was the nearest gas station. My wife was nodding her head and preparing to turn the car, but I was completely lost.

"Repeat bitte?" I requested innocently.

And he did. With lots of gestures. And thanks to his gestures I thought I knew which way we should be heading. More importantly, my wife seemed to know where to go, and we were soon back on the road, heading, I hoped, in the right direction. And sure enough, a gas station soon appeared.

There was absolutely no comparison between the excellent, detailed map we purchased at that "benzine" station, and the useless one I had brought from Canada. Every town, village, and wide place in the road anywhere in Austria could be found on that map, and our biggest challenge now became how to manipulate the huge, double-sized piece of paper into a manageable size!

I'm happy to say that we never got lost again, and we never again had to backtrack. Or at least not while we were in Austria! And most importantly, elderly gentlemen no longer had to worry about my attempts at German. We had a reliable guide, and as a result, not only were we safe, but so were the others on the road!

As believers we also have a reliable map that always guides us to the right destination: heaven! Many pretend they know the way, but if their way does not match this map, then don't follow them! They will lead you astray. It may be a very innocent deception, just like the free map we were originally trying to navigate with, but in the long run, they will cause a lot of trauma. Avoid them!

The only reliable map provided by the direct inspiration of God's Spirit is God's Word, the Bible. You can never go wrong if you follow its advice. Moreover God will never contradict His written word. It will lead you to eternity and will help you avoid the pitfalls of deception and sin (For more information about the Bible, go to ).

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Ps 119:105 NIV)

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Heb 4:12 NIV)

If you are planning a trip to Europe, don't hesitate to buy one of those huge, detailed maps that are available in bookstores throughout North America. It will save you being labelled a "menace" in the country you plan to travel in, and most importantly, you won't get lost!

Rob Chaffart

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