Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Finding a Gardner to Protect You

Suggested Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:8-12

Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy came closer than any previous big screen adaptions to capturing the essence of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic literary work. In fact, the movies nailed one of the primary dynamics of the book: the relationship between Frodo, the ring-bearer tasked with carrying the burden of the evil One Ring to Mount Doom, and Samwise Gamgee, the trusted gardener who accompanies the ring bearer. Without Sam to help him carry the load, to motivate and push him, to literally carry him at times, Frodo would never have been able to destroy the ring and save the world. By himself, Frodo would have failed, but with the help and support of his friend, Frodo was able to complete his mission and Good triumphed.

Quite often, we face circumstances and trials that might overwhelm us or completely defeat us if we faced them alone. Solomon included this principle when writing Ecclesiastes, saying, A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT).  I would daresay that most of us understand this principle, but I wonder how often we intentionally take advantage of it. How often do we seek out friends and companions, people of similar convictions and principles, simply because we will be stronger by doing so?

One of the things Americans, such as myself, tend to value is self-reliance, and there is great value in being able to manage single-person sized tasks by oneself. But many things in life are too large, too difficult, or simply too overwhelming for one person to handle alone. Unfortunately, when those problems arise and those difficulties reveal themselves, the time to develop those relationships and friendships has long passed. The time to develop relationships which will strengthen you for difficulties is before those difficulties arise.

How have you been seeking out relationships with people of similar convictions and goals? What have you been doing to form relationships that will provide strength and support when dark days come? You might survive without them, but you are much more likely to thrive with another person (or more) who will guard your back in the battles of life.

Trusting Jesus to Help You Trust

Suggested Reading: Mark 9:14-29 Before I met my wife, I had very few good, romantic relationships. I'm not just talking about relati...