I recently read a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien called The Hobbit. Tolkien is a well known high-fantasy author from the early 20th century. He is responsible for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and was good friends with religious author C.S. Lewis. Apparently if you want to be a successful writer you need a good abbreviation in your name. From my first reading of one of Tolkien's works, it was hard not to glean some valuable lessons from people and scenarios that he fabricated in his world of Middle-Earth. I wish to draw attention to just a few of the things of which I took note while reading.
The first lesson is this: there's more in us than we know. When I began reading of this Hobbit called Bilbo, he was a contented home body (like most Hobbits) and had no desire to go on any journey, much less an adventure. But as Bilbo and the great wizard Gandalf began discussing a quest with some dwarves, he began to realize that Gandalf had chosen him to be a part of a great plan. There is a line from Gandalf about Bilbo which is repeated in a few different ways throughout the text which sticks out to me: "There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself".
This is significant to me because essentially the same thing is true of the Christian. We may have a well formed idea in our mind about who we are and of what things we are capable, but God knows us better. That is why when He looked at His rag-tag group of 11 (minus Judas) in Matthew 28, he didn't just see former fishermen, tax collectors, and zealots, he saw men who would turn the world upside down with the gospel. When he sent them forth to "...make disciples of all nations.." He knew they could do it, despite what they thought of themselves.
I do not wish to ruin the ending for those who have not read this book, but towards the end of the tale there is a line which shows the significance of this thought. "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world". This line is uttered by someone who doubted the ability of the hobbit Bilbo. But through experience and trial, he learned that all along there was hidden within him a lot more than heoriginally thought. The same is true of us. It will not always be easy, it will not always be light, but the journey we undertake in this life for the cause of Christ will reveal who we truly are to those around us, and even to ourselves.
(Thoughts to be continued in the next article)