"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Character of Gandalf in response to Frodo's desire not to carry the ring of power
Lord of the Rings, Part I
Ok, I admit it. I am a Lord of the Rings junkie. I can watch Lord of the Rings over and over again, and I still find quotes and allegories that inspire me. As I was watching the Lord of Rings, Fellowship of the Ring, which is the first part of the trilogy, I was reminded of the quote given by the wise Gandalf to the young Frodo above.
For those unfamiliar with the story, there is a ring that is incredibly powerful and incredibly evil. The ring literally transforms the person who owns it into evil. Many powerful people and nations seek it. The ring falls to a young, small man (Frodo) who seems to be unaffected, at least initially, by the rings effect due to his innocence. HIs job, is to carry the ring to the place in which it was created, so it can be destroyed, knowing that there are strong and evil forces seeking to destroy him. He is accompanied by 8 others who vow to protect Frodo, while struggling with their own understandings of the ring and their destinies.
Frodo represents you. Often, we are given a calling and mission that we did not ask for. For that mission, you may perceive that you are least qualified for that mission, but for unclear reasons, God chose you. It is not for us to decided our callings, but simply to focus on how to respond to the callings we have.
School teachers called to teach children with very few resources. A young single mother who is overwhelmed by the responsibilities of an infant. The parents of a child with special needs, who abandon all vocational ambitions, to care for their child. Pastors called to lead small congregations in places where few seek to minister. All of these are examples of missions that call us to tasks that are beyond our personal strength.
I want to encourage you today in your calling by pointing out a few principles based upon Scripture and illuminated by the Christian themes written into Lord of the rings.
1. Calling is carried out in community: Jesus calls his disicples to minister in community (Luke 10). In Lord of the Rings, Frodo must carry the ring, but there others to assist him. Who is helping you carry your ring today?
2. Calling is not what you "Like" to do, but what you "have" to do. Jesus does not "like" the cross, but knows that he is destined to die for the sins of the entire world. We often do enjoy our calling, but we must not confuse enjoyment and calling.
3. Calling is the grand adventure. True, God calling is wrought with twists and turns and uncertainty. We see it beginning with Abraham who is called out of his home and sent to an undetermined placed (Genesis 12). Yet, each and everyone of us has a journey and while there may be a distinct destination, the joy of life is found in the journey and the character of life is forged there.
Do you sense that you have a ring to bear. A mission, or calling that although you fear it, is undeniable.
I pray today that you will take time to decide what to do with the "times" given you.
Pastor M Traylor