Why Tolkien Matters
A great article about making life's most important decisions appeared in the April 2007 issue of "Spirit", the Southwest Airlines magazine. Melinda Mahaffey, who in 2007 was the assistant managing editor of the magazine, wrote the article, and she ended it with this question: "When the choice comes to you, what are you going to do?" I encourage you to read her complete article, which is entitled, "Why Tolkien Matters". Here is a link to her website, where you can read the complete article: Tolkien Article
Consider her opening and closing paragraphs:
Forget about all the Oscars that were lavished on Peter Jackson's Rings movies - a work's message can get lost among so much glitter. The trilogy focuses heavily on the unraveling of the plot and epic battle scenes, but deeper than that lies a story about what it takes to be good in an upside-down world - today's world, as it turns out...
So at the end, the real question is: If there is no guaranteed reward for doing good, if helping strangers can lead to your own downfall, then why bother? Because in the best of people, there's a yearning to do what's right; the unselfish act is its own reward. We are each like Frodo, presented at various times with unasked-for burdens - as the hobbit received the Ring and WWI claimed Tolkien - by the world at large. It may be fate or coincidence that we've ended up with such a burden, but there it is. No one said it would be easy. It's up to us to decide what to do with it, for good or ill.
That's the message that Tolkien wants to get across. Today, what path are you going to choose? It's a decision you make not once, but over and over again. Anyone can choose to do their best, any day. If you were cruel or spiteful yesterday, today you can choose differently - you can choose to do better.
When the choice comes to you, what are you going to do?
Looking For "Signs"
Looking for "Signs" is a speech that Tim gave in 2013. [Download PDF]
You are all smart, experienced lawyers.
All day long, on behalf of your clients, you use all your intelligence, all your education, and all of your life experiences, to advocate for your clients, and to counsel them, to help them make wise decisions.
Then, when you are facing a tough, complex situation in your personal life, and you are using all your intelligence, all your education, and all of your life experiences, to make a decision, and you mention that tough choice to family or friends who are active members of their churches, do they sometimes ask you one of these questions???
Have you READ your Bible today?
“Have you PRAYED about it?”
“Have you asked God to LEAD you?”
Have any doors opened? Have any doors closed?
If you have ever been asked such a question, and you have felt uncomfortable, perhaps felt “disconnected” in some way from God, because you have not heard God talk to you, not in person, not in a dream, and you have not been visited by an angel, then don’t be discouraged, YOU’RE NORMAL!
How many people do you remember from the Bible that were visited by angels?
5 or 6?
Of the 70 disciples of Jesus (Luke 10), how many saw Jesus transfigured, talking with Moses and Elijah?
Just three: Peter, James, and John.
Of the 70 disciples of Jesus (Luke 10), how many of them walked on water?
Just one – Peter.
To how many people, as recorded in the Bible, did God talk to from a burning bush?
Just one - Moses.
To how many people, as recorded in the Bible, did Jesus talk directly to, with a light shining all around the person?
Just one - Paul.
Were those people the only believers in God? No!!
I agree that it would be nice, when I’m facing a tough decision, if God would talk to me from a burning bush,
If Jesus would shine a bright light from Heaven and talk to me,
If I could just walk on water…
But, in reality, millions of people throughout history have trusted in God, have obeyed His commands, and yet God has talked directly to very few of them…
Why? God wants us to obey Him, without ever seeing him, without ever hearing his voice, without ever getting any proof, any indication, of His “leading” us…
Hebrews 11:1-6 (NKJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:37-39 (NKJV)
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented
of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise...