I am a big fan of movies. This past week my wife and I got see the Hobbit. I don’t want to ruin the movie for any one who hasn’t seen it, but there are a number of “aha,” moments in the film that reminded me of the journey we are on as Christians. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit of the Shire. They were simple people, rooted in tradition and simplicity. His life was predictable. His life was boring. It’s not that predictable is bad or immoral. The problem with predictability in the Hobbit is one of self-identity and discovery. It seemed to me that Bilbo was afraid of who he could be, or what adventure might be right through his front door. Gandalf, the Wizard, Bilbo’s friend, mentor and key instigator in the film invites Bilbo into an adventure bigger than his beloved, predictable, boring Shire-home. What will Bilbo do?
The invitation to Bilbo Baggins is an invitation to us as well. Following Jesus is a life of adventure, danger, wonder, twists and turns. Look at Mark 8:34-38
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34, 35 ESV)
Clearly, following Jesus demands much of us. To follow Jesus, his followers must be willing to surrender everything and follow his plan, and his purpose for our lives.
Look also at Matthew 28:16-20, “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)
There’s a haunting phrase in this famous passage, did you see it? After Jesus rises from the dead, his disciples go to Galilee as Jesus had directed. When some saw Him there, they worshiped him. They were ready to Go into the world to make disciples. They knew that on the other side of the empty tomb was a grand unfolding adventure. But there were some who doubted! These folks apparently were happy with the comfortable and the predictable. They weren’t ready for adventure. Thankfully for us, when we get stubborn and Bilboish in our lives, The Lord lovingly invites us to a life bigger than the American Dream, bigger than ourselves, bigger than the predictable and controllable in our world.
Will we join The adventure or stay put? That choice is yours?