Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Wizardly Wisdom from Middle-earth

I both laughed and felt an empathetic connection to Frodo's situation when I read this passage of The Fellowship of the Ring.  Frodo is fearing what may be asked of him, still trying to figure out ways that he will not have to go on the full journey to destroy the Ring, and he complains to Gandalf:
'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.'
I can imagine Frodo thinking, thanks, Gandalf, for those rousing words of encouragement.  On the other hand, if Frodo is going to accomplish the things that lie ahead he will have to have an honest self-awareness and sheer determination.  He wasn't chosen because he was mighty and wise, but because he knew his limitations but had enough integrity to go ahead and do what must be done even when he knew it was a job well outside his credentials.

We live in a generation where everyone tells you, You're awesome!  You're amazing!  You're a Rock Star!  We have a lot of young people that believe there is something magically different and special about themselves and when that imagined magic does not translate into smooth success in world domination there is disillusionment and defeat.  And, in the mean time we have a lot of self-absorbed and ineffective people running around.

What if, instead, we told each other the truth?  God made you and loves you and has a purpose for you.  You have been chosen for a particular piece of Kingdom building, but not because you are more powerful and wise and amazing than anyone else, but because God has equipped you with just enough strength and heart and wits that if you rely on Him, and the people He puts around you, you can get the job done.

If we told each other that, if we told our children that, I think we'd have a different world.  I think we'd stop worrying about proving our Rock Star status and focus more on getting things done.  We'd have more humility and honesty and a willingness to dig in and do the hard work necessary to build God's Kingdom.

So, if you feel like you have an impossibly large task looming in front of you, let me be the first to give you some Gandalf wisdom:  Friend, there's no telling why God chose you for this task.  You don't have amazing powers and skills and you aren't a Rock Star.  But, you have a God who equipped you with just enough sense and strength and heart to cling for dear life to the only One who will carry you through to victory.  So, journey on because even though you yourself aren't awesome and amazing God is and He can use you to do some pretty amazing things for His glory.

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