“'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 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Ring of Power in The Lord of the Rings has a long and dark history. It almost seemes to have a mind of its own as it has used different people in an attempt to get back to its master. Yet something happened the Ring has no control over, it abandons Gollum in hopes of being picked up by a goblin. Instead, at just the right moment, Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, discovers it. Even in Middle Earth there is a higher power at work than the force of evil.
In the long history of the Ring, only Bilbo freely gives up the Ring. All the other beings in possession of the Ring either lose or have it taken away from them. Even Frodo, at the end, has it bitten off by Gollum. It was Bilbo's free choice to let go the Ring that opened the way fro Frodo to become the next Ring Bearer.
Frodo doesn't feel up to the task, and he doubts he has what it takes to get the job done. Gandalf agrees with Frodo's assessment. Frodo was not chosen because of his mighty talents, but because of the strength of his character. It was the same reason Bilbo was chosen before him. Gandalf urges Frodo to use the strength, the wits, and the heart he has been given to carry out the mission.
God has chosen every Christians for a task. Generically that task is to make God famous throughout the world; to proclaim His love and forgiveness to the nations. Specifically it is discovered as we walk with God each day.
To be honest we are ill suited for the task God has put before us. We don't have what it takes to change the world. Just like Frodo, we look at ourselves and think we are not made for this type of work. The task is too big for us.
What God is interested in is that we use the blessings and talents He has given us to pursue our calling and leave the rest up to Him. It might seem like we have no chance at making a difference, but God wants us to act like we will. When we trust God even the most insignificant action can have eternal significance.
That is what Frodo does. He goes on this adventure as if it were possible for him to succeed, and God shows up to make it happen. To miss the theological content of The Lord of the Rings I believe misses the story Tolkien wrote.
Here is what we can take away from Frodo's journey. The job we have before us is huge and we are small in comparison. God wants us to live from the strength He has given to us and believe we can change the world. When we do this we experience God in a whole new way. A way that is not possible to experience God simply through study and prayer.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher. ~ 2 Timothy 1:8-11; ESV
God has chosen us. Even though we don't feel up to the challenge, if we go forward in courage and faith, we will experience His power as He carries out His plan for our lives and for the world.
Questions to consider:
- In what ways do you feel ill equipped to carry out the call God had placed on your life?
- Do you gain any confidence knowing God had called you to this task?
- How have you experienced God's power as you have walked in faith?