Friday, July 10, 2015

Struck by Lightning, Part Two

Welcome to Middle-Earth for the Summer!

Are we available to go where the Holy Spirit
wind takes us?
As a summer break for me and, I hope, a fun treat for you, I'm spending some time here excerpting from my last book, Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-earth. Here we continue Chapter One. See last week for Part One.

Struck by Lightning!
(Bilbo Baggins) part 2

But Gandalf is not the first to notice someone everyone else overlooks. Look at something Paul wrote to one of his young friends, centuries before Tolkien wrote a single word.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord . . .He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:5-9).

In this letter, Paul knows he’s close to the end of his life, and he has a lot he needs to pass on. He’s the leader for dozens of churches—pretty much all that existed at the time. He knows it’s time to leave others in charge. If he doesn’t find people to take on the job of leading the church and telling people the story of Jesus, this thing is going to die. So, he looks around for the person he can confidently pass the torch to, and he picks a kid in Greece. Would you be scared to be handed an adventure that big? Timothy was, and he had good reason. Look at the verses again, putting yourself in his place.

Questions to Ponder:

Why might Timothy be afraid? Of what? 

Paul reminds Timothy that he does have a couple qualifications. What are they? 

Have you ever tried to start a fire? What does it mean to “fan (a fire) into flames?” What happens to the little spark your fire starts with if you don’t fan? What happens if you do? 

Like starting a fire, what kinds of things can a person do to take their spark--whatever gift or ability they have--and make it into something big? What would be scary about that? 

What does Paul tell Timothy God gave him to help?

Timothy wasn’t born ready for the job. He doesn’t feel equipped. He doesn’t have the Jewish background the other church leaders have. He has no formal training. He learned all he knows from his mom and grandma. Can you see that one played out in a job interview?

“What qualifies you for this job?”
“Well, um, my grandma...”
Yeah, you can pretty much stop right there.

But, he has two things no degree can ever give him. One, the willingness to do what he’s been chosen to do, no matter how hard it may be. And two, a humble spirit that won’t let pride (or fear) stand in the way.

Paul encourages Timothy: you’ve been chosen to do this by the God who raises the dead! That’s all you need. It doesn’t matter that you’re young. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know all I know. God chose you—are you willing?

That’s the secret of Bilbo’s victory, too: he’s been chosen. He doesn’t know why. He probably thinks all of Gandalf’s fireworks have shaken the wizard’s brain too much. But, just knowing that someone so great picked him makes him gather his small courage and believe he has a shot.

Then, he takes the next step. He decides he’s willing to do whatever he has to do for the job. Steal from a dragon? Carry out a wild river raft escape? Negotiate peace between forces at war? Take on giant spiders? (That’s where you’d lose me!) He just does it, because someone has to, and he’s been chosen.

What About You?

What responsibilities has God given you? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to do them well?
Is there some particular task you feel God wants you to begin? What’s stopping you? Make a plan for you and God to get moving—without fear.

Words to remember:

“The word of the LORD came to me, saying,‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Alas, Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 1:4-8


Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World is a devotional using twenty J.R.R. Tolkien characters. It looks at what makes those characters who they are, where Scripture talks about the same kinds of people, and what it all means to a young person today. Interactive application and fun side additions included!  

 If you would like to find the book for yourself or a teen/young adult you love, you can purchase it here:

No comments:

Post a Comment