The Lord of the Rings is one of those quintessentially Superversive peices of writing and there is so much to be learned from the characters in J.R.R Tolkein’s writing. fervr has a list of 5 things Bilbo can teach us.
But before we enjoy Battle of the Five Armies and leave Bilbo alone for sixty years, it would be a great finish to this epic adventure to ask some questions about him that could help us in our own adventures. What makes Bilbo such a popular hero? What does he teach us about adventures, and heroism, and life? A few ideas.
1. Don’t leave the path
Gandalf’s last words to the hobbit and dwarves before they go into the creepy forest are, “DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!” You know what’s going to happen right there. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to remember God’s words to us when everything is sunshine and rainbows. Spend a while in the dark–lost, surrounded by scary sounds, and uncertain you’ll ever get out, and . . . those words seem a lot farther off.
Maybe He didn’t mean exactly what He said. Maybe I can take a short cut. I’ll still end up where God wants me, but I’ll find an easier way. (Sounds just a little like Satan in the Garden of Eden hissing, “Did God really say that? Are you sure that’s what he meant?”)
C.S. Lewis said that the devil was never in more danger than when a human could no longer feel God’s presence but obeyed him anyway. When God seems silent, Bilbo can teach us to stay the course and continue to obey, even if we’re scared and lost.
2. Never laugh at a live dragon
Bilbo was having a great time matching wits with Smaug. Well, as great as it gets when you’re in constant danger of being a human french fry. But that was the problem—he forgot his danger. He was so into his own brilliance there for a while that he totally forgot that he was dealing with something way beyond him. He started to think he had this. Then he made one too many jokes and . . . dragon fire.
I’ve done that. Getting so impressed with my own intelligence, or ability to handle temptation, or good judgment, that I start to think I can handle whatever the situation is. So sure of myself that I forget this battle is way beyond me. I forget that Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
It pays to remember that no matter how smart or fast you are, showing it off can give you a warm backside.