Monday, October 12, 2009

Concerning Hobbits, Pt. 1

I've been reading The Hobbit to my landlady these past two weeks and it has been entertaining, to say the least. I get to do all the voices - I use John Huston's voice for Gandalf - and try to keep the tone and flow of how Tolkien wrote (you know, those little asides where the storyteller explains how calling anyone, even a giant spider a 'Tomnoddy' is 'not very nice at all!'

Two things have struck me though. One, the plot structure is nearly the same as The Lord of the Rings. Visit hobbit who is quite content at home thank-you-very-much and move him out, put hobbit together with crew, get attacked on the way to Rivendell, fight monster after monster and have a big whopping army battle at the end before resolving and going back home only to find a mess to clean up.

I don't mind - my stuff is a bit formulaic too. But The Hobbit is more charming and less sophisticated, you really feel for poor Bilbo being dragged around and having to rescue everyone else only to get complaints from the 'rescued.' But what struck me as strange was just how dark and dangerous The Hobbit is - how MANY battles there are with LOTS of bloodshed.

This 'charming tale' wouldn't get past the first editor of children's books in a Christian bookstore if it had not already existed. It's PG to PG-13 for sure.

What I do like about it is that it is utterly clear that Bilbo wants NOTHING to do with adventures, prefers his quiet hobbit-hole at Bag's End and nearly faints at the mention of death or extreme danger.

By the time the book is over, you see this little suburban over-eater has gotten some wisdom and warfare under his belt. He's NOT noble - he's terribly practical but that is the saving grace when faced with the stubbornness of misplaced pride he finds in the treasure-seeking dwarves.

Oswald Chambers said something once about the Christian worker's sense of the heroic:

Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him.

Peter said - "I will lay down my life for Thy sake" and he meant it; his sense of the heroic was magnificent. It would be a bad thing to be incapable of making such a declaration as Peter made; the sense of our duty is only realized by our sense of the heroic. Has the Lord ever asked you - "Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake?"

It is far easier to die than to lay down the life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling. We are not made for brilliant moments, but we have to walk in the light of them in ordinary ways.

We all want to do something big for God. Some of us have, in fact.

But it is obedience that matters, a surrender of our DAILY lives that have the most impact. Christian men who raise their children to respect and love their Lord; mothers who have learned not to be always fearful but ask the Lord Jesus for their "daily bread" - these hold the fort against all the exciting and alluring acts of disobedience and self-gratification that the world tosses at or into our culture today.

As the weather cools and we see the leaves fall, let us keep warm hearth fires burning - in gratitude to the Man from Galilee who gave us His life so we could be secure. Let us appreciate with grateful hearts what priceless pleasures are doled out in a hot cup of tea or freshly ground coffee served by hands that love us.

If we do this, we will be ready when He knocks on our door to go on an adventure with Him. We will know His kindness and grace first - and what He has first given to us in His abiding love- and with that knowledge we will go forth into such adventures as have never been seen or heard of by mortal men.

So - don't hurry past this season. Wait. Fill up with all the kind things God sends you. Thank Him and appreciate His gifts you never earned. Let Him love on you. If you do that, you will be filled to overflowing (cf. Psalm 23).

You will overflow with His love and grace and power and from THAT abundance you, little hobbit, can truly change the world.


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