I love the Lord of the Rings. Perhaps this is why I also love a blog called “Tales from Middle Earth“. “Strider” publishes this blog about his experiences as a missionary in an undisclosed location. He uses names and places from Middle Earth to protect himself and the believers in his area. He tells great stories that always strengthen and challenge me. His latest story is called “Going Far to Get Near“. He begins this story like this:
I am interested in people who are lost. What drives them? What touches them? If I could know that then maybe my demonstration of Christ before them could be more effective. It could have meaning to them and touch them in a powerful way. The sad truth is that too many of us are too good at making the old old story boring. If you want to lead a guy out of lostness you must first find him. I am not talking about prostituting Jesus for the masses, making him some kind of Santa Claus or anything like that. I am talking about sharing the real Jesus with real people.
As I read Strider’s stories, I learn more about the work of believers around the world. I also recognize many opportunities that God gives me to interact with unbelievers every day. For instance, in this last story, Strider describes a time he travelled a long distance with a group of unbelievers. He learned more about himself and others through this encounter. (Read his stories! They are great!) How far are you willing to go to get to know the lost in your community?
Certainly, one of the reasons that I enjoy “Strider’s” blog so much is because of his use of people’s names and locations from Tolkein’s Lord of the Ring trilogy. LOTR is, first and foremost, a story about a journey. I think this is a great parallel for the Christian life. Following Christ is also a journey, and we should realize that we are going somewhere – we have not arrived – and we should realize that God has placed others on the journey with us – in a “Fellowship”, if you will – because we need them and they need us. We are on a journey. In Scripture, that journey was once called “The Way”. I think I like that name. It reminds me to keep walking. And when I stumble, it reminds me to get up and start walking again. I’m glad that God has allowed me to walk along this journey with so many others who encourage me and challenge me, and, most of all, to help me up when I fall.
I think I’ll close this post with two of my favorite lines from the movie (I think they are in the book, but perhaps spoken in different scenes):
Frodo: I wish The Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had ever happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to face 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 to us.
Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way.
Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… And then you see it.
Pippin: What? Gandalf?… See what?
Gandalf: White shores… and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
Pippin: Well, that isn’t so bad.
Gandalf: No… No it isn’t.