In 1982, when I was in high school, we had the chance to join a weeklong Regional Boy Scout Jamboree in Sibalom, Antique, Philippines.
The event that I was good at was the orienteering course. Having won the local jamboree, my team and I were confident we would win at the regional level.
When the contest started after lunch, our team of eight was way ahead of around twenty teams participating.
While looking for the last message, we passed a cashew tree teeming with ripe fruits.
For us who live in a city (Roxas City), seeing a cashew tree with ripened fruits is like finding a rare treasure trove.
You can find cashew fruit in the market, but seldom can you find a tree.
Also, the fruits looked so ripe and ready to eat. Cashew sap can burn your lips if the fruit isn’t fully mature.
Growing up as kids in the pre-computers and internet era (in the Philippines), climbing trees was a feat every boy and girl loved to do.
One would get the bragging right if he or she climbed the highest or the rarest tree in the neighbourhood.
This reason and the prospect of enjoying the fruits made us decide to take a break. Anyway, we are way ahead of the other participating groups.
So, I knocked on the owner’s door and asked permission to have some cashew fruit.
Surprisingly, the owner was more than happy to allow us with one condition. We must not eat nor throw away the nut but gather them in the tree’s base.
When we went to the first cashew tree, we discovered a few more with ripened fruits.
The owner encouraged us to bring as much fruit as we wanted and share them with other boy scouts. At this point, we had forgotten we were in the orienteering contest.
When we were done eating and picking, the owner, who has now become our hospitable host (Antinqueños are known for their hospitality, we were oriented), offered us soft drinks (Coke) and soda crackers (Skyflakes).
Then, we remembered we needed to finish the race. We tried looking for the last message using the coordinates that were given.
The compass points us farther from the campsite’s coverage area. It pointed to a village outside of the site and a forbidden zone. Having spent a while off the track, we lost the correct bearing. We were lost!
To re-orient us in the right direction, we must return to the location of the last message we found and get our bearings right.
As we went, we met a co-camper who was looking for us. He said that the contest was over. All the teams had arrived except us. We need to go back and return the military compass to the scoutmaster.
There are three meaningful life lessons I always remember from my Boy Scout Orienteering experience.
- First, in navigating life’s journey, I need to stay focused on the faith-wisdom map that the Lord God has laid out for me.
- Second, I should keep reading, checking, and following the “coordinates” that my Biblical moral compass indicates.
- Third, I must resist and not give in to the temptation of low-hanging attractive “fruits” that the world presents. Instead, I must focus on the goal to win the prize. I mustn’t be complacent and allow distractions to waylay my journey.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14
Yes, let us press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
A nice life story and a wonderful scripture to guide our path in serving Christ.
Beautiful life’s lessons! Praying that this ministry will reach more souls.
Alex van Meygaarden
Good point. Thanks for the encouragement. Easy to get distracted.