Taking on the Burden

My family and I are huge Lord of the Rings fans and have re-watched the movies several times. After all these years, I am still learning new things and comparing it to the Christian life. One example was in the Fellowship of the Ring when a group of four hobbits, two men, one elf, one dwarf, and a wizard gathered to decide the fate of the one ring “to rule them all.” Anyone of those members could have taken the ring and carry it all the way to Mordor where it can be destroyed. But it had to be the one hobbit, the youngest and most unpredictable choice to take on the task.

At first, one would be quick to point out the selfishness and cowardice of the rest of the fellowship. I admit, if my boss at work would suddenly give me a major task that required a lot of responsibility and leadership, I would absolutely hesitate, no doubt. I’d prefer someone else to do it for me. What if something goes wrong? What if I fail? I want to avoid the hardship at all costs, and let someone else go through that. When Jesus was talking concerning the Pharisees and their hypocritical, boastful behavior, He said, ”’They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them”’ (NIV). It’s easy to let others do the work. Yet in reality, we are getting nowhere but making ourselves look worse in front of God.

On the other hand, I can see that those who decided to not take on the task did so in fear of not being able to take on such a burden or not being chosen. Maybe they felt they would be tempted along the way or use it for the wrong purpose. Moreover, maybe they did not feel like it was their burden to take. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). A burden can bring us to our knees but knowing God, there is always something good that comes out of it. As for having fear, any burden we are called to carry will be a frightful journey. We just gotta rely on God.

Most importantly, when an individual carries a burden, they should not have to do it alone. In the fellowship, all participated in the protection of Frodo and kept him company the whole way, especially his friend Sam. There are people all around us who can help carry burdens. Paul says in Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV). And above all, we have the Lord who will always be there to carry it for us. Psalm 55:22 confirms this: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (ESV).

I admire those who are willing to take on a task that is not expected of them. But God is fully aware of who can do it and who can’t, who is willing and who won’t. Sometimes it is a small, young individual who is stronger than a fighter.

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