hope for churches in stress

Strength and Hearts and Wits

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic narrative, Lord of the Rings, the realms of Middle-earth are threatened by the Dark Lord Sauron. One Ring, crafted in an earlier age as the ultimate weapon in his arsenal, eludes Sauron--and can thwart his domination of Middle-earth.

To counter this grim threat, a diverse company of allies meet in counsel. They decide that the Ring must be destroyed by throwing it into the flames of Mount Doom, where it was forged. A band of nine traveling companions is selected—a dwarf, an elf, two men, a wizard, and four hobbits. With apparent disregard for the prowess of others, Frodo, a hobbit, is appointed ring-bearer.

Frodo plaintively asks Gandalf, the Christ-figure in the narrative, “Why was I chosen?" The wizard replies, “Such questions cannot be answered. 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."

In a band of Christ-followers, pastors are appointed to a key role—Word-bearer for the community. They are not perfect. They may not be the most gifted or mature in the company of believers. Yet pastors have been chosen and, in a recurring biblical theme, must use “such strength and heart and wits” as they have been given to fulfill an essential role in the Body of Christ (Exodus 4:10-12; Jeremiah 1:6-8; 2 Timothy 1:6-7).

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