Guide Rails, Lines, and Notches

Image by Monsterkoi from Pixabay

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is right and true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us what is right. —2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

 It was still dark when I left for work one snowy December morning a number of years ago. A winter storm made driving difficult. Even in our four-wheel-drive, I couldn’t go more than thirty miles an hour. Swirling white flakes pummeling my headlights made it hard to see the snow-covered road. On this secondary road, there were no guide rails to show me where the pavement ended and the berm began. Only occasional arrow signs indicated where there were sharp bends. Although I knew the road well, the darkness and blizzard-like conditions transformed the familiar into the unfamiliar.

Conditions weren’t much better when, ten miles and half an hour later, I reached the main highway. Snow covered both lanes. As I inched my way through the whiteout, a sound like I was driving on chains informed me that I had strayed into the opposite lane.

Guide rails and painted lines are meant to help the driver stay on his side of the road. But not all sections of highway have guide rails, and snow can obliterate the lines. That’s why notches were cut into the middle and the edge of the pavement. When drivers can’t see the lines, the vibration and sound of the tires rolling over the notches tell them when they stray.

God’s Word works the same way. Sudden storms make traveling life’s road difficult and familiar territory unfamiliar. We’re not sure of the way. That’s when we need to slow down and pay attention to the signs God posts in His Word that tell when we begin to stray. If we heed them, we’ll know we’re still on the road and in the right lane.

Thank You, God, for the guide rails, lines, and notches of Your Word that help me find the right way in a world that’s often dark and stormy. Amen.

 MORE TEA: Read and meditate on Psalm 119:97–105.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Money Pit

Daniel McGinnis, John Smith and Anthony Vaughan begin digging in 1795.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.” –Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 13:44 NIV

One summer day in 1795, young Daniel McGinnis found what appeared to be a depression in the ground. The teenager, who lived on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia called Oak Island, knew the area was reputed to have been frequented by pirates. Oak Island was one of three hundred small isles in the Mahone Bay, perfect for hiding pilfered treasures. So Daniel returned the next day with two of his friends and started digging.

He never found anything. What he did do, though, was spark a treasure hunt that spanned two hundred years, cost millions of dollars, and claimed half a dozen lives, including a daredevil motorcyclist and his eighteen-year-old son in 1959.

Excavators, digging and drilling to nearly two hundred feet, discovered charcoal, putty, spruce platforms, oak chests, layers of wood and iron, coconut fibers, parchment, loose pieces of metal, a cement vault, a human hand, a mysterious inscription on a stone, a flood tunnel, booby traps—but no treasure.

Money Pit on Oak Island

What really lies at the bottom of what’s called the Money Pit? Treasure buried by Captain Kidd, who used the area for R & R and to repair his ships? The original works of Shakespeare or Sir Francis Bacon? The crown jewels of France, which vanished four years before McGinnis stumbled onto the site? The long-lost Holy Grail? Or is the Money Pit nothing more than an old ammo dump?

No one knows. But who can resist the lure of buried treasure? Note the popularity of films such as National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean. Why do such stories appeal to us? Perhaps because we all harbor a secret dream that we will find a treasure that will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams. What wouldn’t we give for a chance at it?

That’s why Jesus used this analogy in describing the kingdom of heaven.

“The kingdom of heaven,” He said, “is like treasure hidden in a field.”

Since there were no banks in the first century, it wasn’t uncommon to hide treasure in the ground. If the person who buried it died without disclosing the whereabouts of his cache, it was finders, keepers.

“When a man found it,” Jesus continued, “he hid it again, and then went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

That’s how valuable the kingdom of heaven is. The late missionary Jim Elliot understood this.

“He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose,” he once said. Elliot was one of five missionaries murdered by the Auca Indians in 1956.

Mother Teresa also understood this, as did Hudson Taylor. And William Tyndale. And many others like them who gave all they had in order to serve the King. They knew that what they relinquished was minuscule compared to what they received—the kingdom of heaven. They gave that which they could not keep to gain that which they could not lose.

Now, that doesn’t mean we have to run off and become missionaries when we submit to the rule of King Jesus. But it does mean that our priorities change. Our perspective changes. What we once thought was so important no longer is.

It means that, like Paul, we say, “Everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).

What about you—where is your treasure?

Dear God, I still cling to things that moth and rust can destroy, and thieves can steal. Remind me daily of where my real treasure lies. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 13:44; Philippians 3:7–8.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3 © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Interest piqued? Find out more about The Money Pit here: “Oak Island Money Pit: The Last Great Unsolved Mystery

First photo courtesy of