“Where are you going, sir?” A street seller asked as a young man perused his many trinkets and tools. The young man appeared ready for a long hike, with mountain boots strapped high, waterproof jacket and clothing, and a survival backpack slung over his shoulders and fastened at the waist.
He smiled at the old seller and replied, “I must travel through the mountains, my home is on the other side.” The lad then squinted up at the stormy sky, and as if on cue a light rain began to fall, “my, my…what a time to travel,” the old sellar muttered as he rushed to cover his valuables.
The young man reached forward and lifted a compass from the table just as the seller pulled a tarp across, he then started to fasten the tarp to the ground unawares. “How much for this compass?” The seller turned startled that the lad was still standing there in the rain. “If you still want to travel in this weather you’re going to need more than a compass my boy!” The young man raised an eyebrow in apparent confusion, oblivious to the rain droplets now running down his face.
The seller beckoned the lad toward the shelter of an oak tree down the cobbled street. It’s branches drooping over the top of a bench. The seller sat down with a sigh, the young man followed suit, wiping his face on his sleeve. “Let me see the compass lad and I’ll explain.” The young man obediently handed over the silver compass, it’s arrows bouncing ever slightly but remaining true. “A compass is great for knowing which direction to go, but it doesn’t tell you how long you have to get there.” He gestured to the rainy skies, “if you are unable to locate the sun, how will you know when it will be dark? A compass is useless in the dark, you need the sun to light your path see?” The lad nodded, listening intently, “I can see that you haven’t packed a tent, so I reckon you plan on making this trip in a day, am I right?” The young man nodded again and replied, “yes sir, I’ve no time to stay the night, my wife and child expect me home before nightfall.” The seller reached into his pocket and withdrew a golden watch.
“Like the compass, a good working watch will never steer you wrong. No matter what the skies are hiding, you will know how much time you have left to reach your destination.” The seller chuckled, “no sense in getting lost, and no sense in arriving late, your wife would be worried.” The young man pulled out his wallet, “thank you for your advice, you have been very kind…what do I owe you?” The seller smiled warmly at the young lad before him, reminded of how he was at that age, “take them both so that you can find your way back to my seller stand again.” He handed both the watch and the compass over to the young man and patted him on the shoulder. “I’m open from 9-5 and not a second more!”
The Holy Spirit is our compass, guiding us to our destinies and encounters. If we remain focused on him we will know the path we are to take regardless of what lies in our way. And yet the night is falling all around us, and time is valuable. The Bible expresses this in that the coming of our Lord will be soon, and like a thief in the night. It gives us signs and wonders to point to His coming, each a tick of the clock, bringing us closer to the end. We must hurry and finish this race before time runs out!