Geocaching: An activity or pastime in which an item, or a container holding a number of items, is hidden at a particular location for GPS users to find by means of coordinates posted on the internet.
A few weeks ago we signed up to Geocaching and like more than million people around the globe, we are in the process of finding and logging the 2.4 million plus caches around the world, starting with the 8,000 ones hidden here in the UK. So far we have logged 34 of them. It’s a long-term project.
The boot of the car now contains essential caching equipment so we can spontaneously pull over in random locations en-route to somewhere else and search for undiscovered treasure.
• Gardening gloves
• Pruning shears
• A long branch – acquired during cache find 26
• Piriton – Manchild has hayfever
• Small treasure Tupperware of lego bricks, cinema ticket stubbs, shells and loom band bracelets
• iPhone – not in boot, we keep that with us constantly like everyone does. Don’t they?
Our limited hunting experience has unearthed three trackables – items with their own ID tags that allow them to be tracked online by their owners as they are placed, retrieved, then carried to the next cache in the real world.
Trackables are given a goal of reaching a particular country, or series of locations, or in the case of Futuristic Freddy – retrieved from Cullompton services and deposited in Bridgend – seeing as much of planet earth as possible before returning home to the planet Zarg. Whatever goal the owner sets, six million fellow cachers are pledged to assist as long as they are nearby, have a decent phone signal and no Muggles are watching.
One of the trackables currently in our possession wishes to reach Scotland. I was in Scotland a week and a half ago. I could have made someone’s dream come true, but it’s still sitting at the front door because we forgot about it. Trackables are not stored with common or garden caching treasure in the Tupperware. (They are too special and would make the loom bands jealous).
We need to get a move on and deposit it somewhere though, even if it’s not in Scotland or even north of our position right now. Cachiquette (geocaching etiquette, duuur) requires that hunters keep trackables in their possession for no longer than two weeks and time is running out! Of all the things going on my life right now that require urgent attention – like the kids’ passports arriving in time for the flight we have already booked in four days time, losing a car key for a hire car resulting in my husband being temporarily stranded 230 miles away, invoicing our last job so we can pay the suppliers who helped us deliver our last job and then there’s the flea colony in one of the bedrooms, getting rid of the coin is consuming my thoughts a little more than it should.
Because it’s not ours to keep, and ownership is a strange thing.
Sometimes what isn’t actually ours can appear to be so, purely because of the length of time we’ve had it. If I keep the trackable coin, it won’t cease to belong to it’s true owner – I’ll just annoy whoever that is – and maybe get an arsey email or have our account suspended or something. The coin won’t become mine just because I choose to keep it.
Paul said the message of Jesus is just like this. It’s a trackable. It’s meant to go far and wide and change lives wherever it goes – because it’s owner has set the mission and wants it that way.
The trackable doesn’t belong in one place. One people group, country or denomination doesn’t have the monopoly on grace. It’s for everyone and it’s free. And if you keep hold of it you violate the rules of play and prevent others from coming into contact with it. You become a gatekeeper. A Pharisee. A trackable thief.
Some people try to referee, but the mission is to sign up and play. To leave the treasure at another cache, ready for the seekers who are already on their way to find it.
I don’t care about my own life. The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me—to tell people the Good News about God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)