The ring of power has been handed down to Frodo, the heir of Bilbo. Years have gone by since he received this “heirloom” from the elder hobbit. Now, Gandalf the wizard is advising Frodo on what to do with the ring of power. Shall they destroy it? Perhaps, Frodo thinks, it could be obliterated with a hammer? Maybe burned in the fire? None of this is actually possible. In order to destroy the ring, Gandalf knows Frodo must travel to the Cracks of Doom in the land of Mordor, the home of the dark lord. Leading the hobbit and the wizard to this conclusion:
“’I do really wish to destroy it!” cried Frodo. ‘Or, well, to have it destroyed. I am not made for perilous quests. I wish I had never seen the Ring! Why did it come to me? Why was I chosen?’
‘Such questions cannot be answered,’ said Gandalf. ‘You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: not for power or wisdom at any rate. But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.’” (The Fellowship of The Ring, p. 61)
I love how in this sequence Tolkien is capturing the heart of the ordinary person called to a great task. Frodo does not possess the powers of Gandalf or the kingliness of Aragon. Neither is he a skilled warrior like Legolas nor is he powerful like Gimli. He is a hobbit, a small creature called to undertake a great task in the face of grave evil. Frodo longs for home where gardens abound, second breakfast is ready to fill out the corners, and daring adventures are considered quite concerning.
In real life, none of us are wizards, kings, or possessive of mighty supernatural powers. We do not come from a long line of warriors cloaked in strength beyond comprehension. Most of us, are Shire folk. Those who love home, family, and the beauty of daily life around us. However, we cannot lose our courage to undertake a task God gives us that seems beyond our “heart” or “wisdom” or “strength.” Standing for biblical values in a secular culture is a difficult battle for the protection of the Shire against the forces of Mordor. Yet, the words of Elrond to Frodo about his task echo truth to our own moment:
“I think that this task is appointed for you, Frodo; and that if you do not find a way, no one will. This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have foreseen it? Or, if they are wise, why should they expect to know I, until the hour has struck?” (The Fellowship of The Ring, p. 270)
What we need in our day is for the ordinary “hobbit” to standup placing their hand to the task that God has given them. We resonate with the desires of the Shire-folk for home. After all, the Apostle Paul says:
“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” -1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
God does not cause the “ring of power” to show up at most of our door steps in order to heroically cast it aside defeating great evil. More than likely, He shall call us to stand in countless other ways. Sharing the Gospel with a co-worker, contending for righteousness amidst our local politicians, investing in our neighbors, and being courageous enough to see the task appointed and pursue it with all our strength trusting in Christ’s power, these points are our duty. Sometimes you are Frodo with a very unique duty. Most likely, you are Sam, Merry, or Pippen called on to a supporting role in the fight. The gardener who keeps Frodo alive and carries him at the end. Perhaps the two younger hobbits who ride Treebeard as the Ents go to war. Whether Gandalf the wizard, Frodo, or any of these others, every person has a role to play in the battle. Tolkien highlights this point in the exchange between Strider and Mr. Butterbur the innkeeper who says:
“Though I don’t know what the likes of me can do against, against –‘ he faltered.”
“’Against the Shadow of the East,’ said Strider quietly. ‘Not much Barliman, but every little helps.’” (The Fellowship of The Ring, p. 168)
Indeed, most of us are not Paul’s or Peter’s in this grand war for the kingdom of God. We are the common folk quietly doing our part. Yet, in everyday courage there is great dignity. God honors faithfulness in the small and large aspects of life using both for His glory. It is not our part to decide what role we have, it is our lot to simply do what is set before us for Christ the King. Whether that be a day of hard work, adventure, investing in family, or who knows what, may we see glory in the task of each day.
I know not what role you are called to in your days. None of us know the entire picture of what lies ahead of us over our lives. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, whether you are someone who can do much or little, see the nobility in the glorious calling of Christ’s kingdom. Get up each day knowing that every deed which seems small to you is part of an effort which resounds to the eternal glory of God. You may never know the impact of a small seed planted that could grow into a mighty tree. Let us live with all of the wisdom, wit, heart, and strength each day knowing God will use us in His plan. May we always stand for the goodness of the Shire being prepared to face Mordor’s evil anytime duty calls!
This post originally appeared in the Unbound Newsletter: https://unboundnewsletter.weebly.com/newsletter/jareds-corner8822411