Christian Living

Spiritual Life

What Do You Value Most?

The only thing that separates towns along the Hi-Line, US Route 2, in eastern Montana is miles and miles of unimpeded high plains – nothing but grass and wheat, a long strip of asphalt and a parallel rail line. The plains are utterly glorious in their expansiveness. You can see forever and then some.

When you’re traveling by bicycle and 50 miles from the next town in a place like that, you feel a bit more vulnerable to equipment failure or an urgent need for personal services like food or a bathroom. So when the bite valve to Debbie’s water supply flew off and, abetted by a strong wind, vanished into the tall grass alongside the road, we felt compelled to find it.

Debbie’s water began spilling out all over her. On hot days like that one, and especially with long distances between services, we had to preserve as much water as possible. Without the bite valve, a wad of bubble gum might have helped – if we’d had some. Duct tape might have worked in a pinch too, just as it does for about anything else.

Regardless, we didn’t have any spare bite valves on board, and, without one, Debbie wouldn’t be able to drink frequently enough to endure the heat of the day, let alone those that would follow. We couldn’t purchase a specialty part like that at the local convenience store, which was at least 30 miles away.

As Debbie held the gravity-fed hose upright to prevent further loss of water, we looked for the missing part, carefully reconstructing the incident to narrow down our search. A half hour later, we had exhausted our efforts with nothing to show for them. An 80-mile day awaited us. Any more time spent searching would probably be unfruitful and would only cost us more time. We needed to make special provisions for Debbie’s water supply.

Something of such little monetary value can become priceless to the right person under the right circumstances. We often take things for granted until circumstances change. Suddenly, the seemingly insignificant becomes the lynchpin to bailing us out of a dilemma – or to fulfilling our mission. Debbie and I didn’t appreciate a bite valve until we discovered the hard way that we couldn’t get along without it.

It certainly is curious how we ascribe value to things. If we keep coming back to the monetary measure, we’ll be disappointed. That scale doesn’t always work. An old photograph of a lost love, a timely piece of advice from a mentor, a meaningful relationship with a trusted friend or a difficult life lesson learned years ago in the school of hard knocks are treasures of infinite value that money can’t buy. You won’t find inspiration or wisdom on sale at the local department store . . . or at a high-end auction house. You may not even find them at institutions of higher learning.

What do you need to pursue your goals and dreams? I guarantee you it’s not just money or possessions. If you focus too much on acquiring such things and then assume the burden of managing them, you may never find your way out of the wilderness. You’ll be too busy or just plain distracted.

As for us, our roadside quandary ended well. As we began to cycle away from the scene, Debbie’s last glance toward the side of the road spotted the bite valve, propped up in a tuft of tall grass. Wow! Heaven had just returned our phone call.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 NKJV).

Adapted from Wheels of Wisdom: Life Lessons for the Restless Spirit © 2016 Timothy G Bishop and Deborah L Bishop. Used by permission.

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