Hobbits, elves, and dragons have
become common fantasy characters but do they have more relevance to your life
than you think? Are they as real as, or the same as, people you meet every day?
Maybe not literally, but J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous characters bring to life real
character qualities we all can learn from, whether good or bad. What can the
bravery of a hobbit, the faith of a elf, or the greed of a dragon teach teens
about themselves? How can their stories lead us to the real Kingdom where God is
working out way more than a fantasy for his people? Dig in to these familiar
characters and relevant Bible passages to find out. Come out understanding how
to live your own epic story! To purchase from Amazon:
Jill’s love for hobbits and elves comes from her time
as a literature teacher and as a
lifelong reader of great stories. She also loves an epic challenge and a chance
for grace wherever they exist. Jill has a BA in English and Education and an
MDiv in theology and is an ordained minister who has served as a worship,
preaching, and discipleship pastor. She has published four books previously, as
well as articles in national magazines such as FamilyFun, Discipleship Journal,
and Today’s Christian Woman.
Jill enjoys speaking on a variety of topics and has
been very active on the MOPS circuit, as well as in junior high and high school
classes. She enjoys speaking for retreats for all ages.
With three daughters, three cats, and (thankfully!) only one husband,
she keeps busy otherwise with community theater, gardening, reading,
scrapbooking, and traveling. Jill loves oceans, cats, chocolate, teenagers, her
family, the Cubs, and God, not necessarily in that order.
From December 1 through December 16,
the John 3:16 Marketing Network is hosting a Christmas Book Launch and Hobbits,
You, and the Spiritual World is a featured book. As part of the event, the
Network is offering a $200 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky winner. For a
chance to win, go to http://bit.ly/Christian_Books and enter
the Rafflecopter (toward the bottom of the page). And be sure and pick up your
Kindle version of Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World at http://amzn.to/1eG7u1Y
ME TO YOUR LEADER
Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to
Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons
of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus
said to them.
“Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them,“You will indeed drink
from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These
places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard about this, they were
indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know
that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials
exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become
great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be
your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and
to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20.20-28).
James’ and John’s mom want? Why do you think she wants it? Do James and John
agree with this request? How do you know?
Why are the
other disciples mad when they hear about this?
Jesus say people in power usually act? Why do you think they act like this?
Are you ever
tempted to let people “see” that you’re a leader? Do you ever want to show off
some position you have? Why? How does it make you feel?
servants and slaves act? What is their job? What do you suppose they typically
do in a day?
Church people have created a name for the kind of leader
Church people have created a name for the
kind of leader Jesus is talking about here: a servant leader. What exactly is
that? Well, it’s what He says: someone “in charge” who chooses not to act like
an overbearing jerk but instead asks other people, “How can I help
you?” “How can I make your job better?” “How can I make sure
you get credit for a job well done?”
That’s the opposite of how we think. We think
we have to make ourselves look good. We think if we don’t make it clear who’s
in charge, no one will give us the credit we deserve. We think like the other
ten disciples: “Hey! Who do James and John think they are to try to get top
Do you know that Jesus, who, let’s face it,
clearly has that top spot by a landslide, told His disciples they would do
greater things than He did? He didn’t even try to keep all the glory to
himself. He wanted it shared around. He wanted those who He taught to be able
to shine brighter than He did. Why? Because the “big picture” mattered a lot
more to Him than who got the credit. The point was to make sure as many people
as possible heard about being saved and living for God. Jesus didn’t care who
got the credit for that happening!
Gandalf knows that the big picture matters
more than anything. Yes, the smaller picture of returning the Lonely Mountain
to its rightful owners has to happen first. The reason, though, is that it’s
part of the giant picture of returning all of Middle Earth to its rightful
goodness. The dwarves’ adventure is part of the story, but it’s not the story.
Individual glory has to take second place. (Thorin and Boromir never quite
grasped that… and they died. A lesson to be learned there, I think.)
The best way to make any “big picture” plan
happen, as both Gandalf and Jesus know, is to equip and encourage as many
people as possible to do the job well, not to boss people around and always be
in charge. Sometimes, we need to step out of the way and let other people do
it. That might even mean being happy when someone else becomes the hero in the
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
If you were in charge of a group, what would
you do to act like a servant? How do you think it would work?
Write down a place where you are a leader,
whether it’s in an official position of leadership or as a role model to
someone. List some things you can do to become more like Jesus tells us to be
and less like everyone expects us to be.
What do you think it would look like if world leaders tried this radical idea?
Words to remember
“. . . not lording it over those entrusted to you, but
being examples to the flock.”
(1 Peter 5:3)