As far as we know, it was first invented or perhaps discovered in China. Well over two thousand years ago, they discovered that a thin strip of magnetized lodestone would always point north. This simple observation, improved over the centuries, led to increased exploration and navigation. Ferdinand Magellan, one of the greatest explorers, was the first to sail around the world. He used over thirty-five compass needles on board his five ships to keep a sense of direction.
I have a couple of compasses on my desk. The metaphor of navigating through life appeals to me because there is no map for my life. I have never lived before and so have never charted this territory. I do, however, have a sense of direction and purpose for my life. With God’s help, I am trying to follow that direction and find what he has for me.
As spiritual navigators, we also have a compass: the Word of God. The scriptures point us to Jesus, ‘the way, the truth and the life’. He is our North Star, our fixed point, the unchanging and eternal one. God has not left us to wander aimlessly or drift carelessly, but he has given us a compass which always points us to Jesus.
Have you lost your bearings? Do you feel like you are off course? Is there is a sense that you might be drifting? Pull out the compass and find your bearings. It never fails to orientate us in the right direction and bring life into alignment with God.
Jesus told his disciples that the Word was all about him: “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of me […] For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5:39,46)
We read the Scriptures in order to know and follow Jesus better. Sometimes, we think the style, size or colour of the compass is important. It is not. Its job is to help us find our North Star. It has never failed yet.