Friday, September 1, 2017

Re-re-reading Lord of the Rings

I recently finished reading the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. Again. I think this is the 9th or 10th time I've read the whole thing and I've found something different each time. This round, what struck me is Tolkien's positive examples of what I will call "plodding loyalty."

Some examples are Aragorn's long labors in obscurity, Merry's pursuit of battle with the horsemen of Rohan, and Frodo's faithful pursuit of his quest without hope. My favorite is Samwise Gamgee. His deep faithfulness to Frodo sustains him through great difficulty, even into Mordor. He sees the job that must be done (the destruction of the Ring) and pursues that as forthrightly as only a hobbit can. I won't try to catalog all the examples of Sam's plodding loyalty, but I will mention his charging a citadel (seemingly) full of orcs to save his master and, in the end, carrying Frodo on the final stretch to the Cracks of Doom. 

This is quality stands out at this point in my life as I see the value of such plodding loyalty and consistency.  I have found that one of the most powerful tools we have as a parent is consistency. Consistently apply discipline, keep the rules, point to the Good, remind of Scripture, take your plate to the kitchen after dinner, and do bedtime snuggles. Their own thinking and words will wear a path through regular plodding in the same direction.

As an elder, I am grateful for the loyal plodders. They show up. Yes, we need people to lead music and worship, but we also need people to lead a small Bible study, keep the nursery, vacuum up after the kids hit the snacks, trim the bushes, or offer a cold cup of water to someone who needs it. I listened to a podcast recently where the host signed off with phrase "go do something awesome." Honestly, I'm 42 years old, have a wife and three kids, hold down an 8-5 job, drive a minivan, and I'm no longer "hep to the jive" much less awesome. Some may be called to big things, but know that far more (even elders) are called to plodding loyalty. Be encouraged that our God sees that time in the nursery, the trimmed bushes, the cup of cold water, and the two copper coins that seem so small to the world but are all you have to give.

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