In my reading diet, rarely will you find servings of fiction. I feast much more on non-fiction works, and generally concentrated in two areas: stuff written by dead guys from a long time ago, and stuff written by living men in field of biblical counseling. Of course, when I read to my children, I avoid reading John Owen’s “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” to them, but I reserve the right to adjust that as they get older.
There are two notable exceptions to this rule, and that is C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. I’ve read the Chronicles of Narnia over and again. I was introduced to The Hobbit by my mom when I was 8 or 9, have read it numerous times in the three decades since. So, it was with great anticipation that I gathered with other Tolkien nerds to go the second of The Hobbit films at the midnight showing.
For those of you concerned about this being a review, it is not, other than to say I really enjoyed it. And if you are concerned I am going to give some big plot piece away, not to worry, I will not wreck it for you. There is much about the film that is compelling – the story arc, the music, the visuals, the tension, and some well timed moments of levity.
But one scene in particular grabbed me. It was not an action sequence, it was not a panoramic view of Middle-Earth, it was not the fulfillment of something anticipated. It was simple dialogue. The situation is that, for reasons I will leave untold, the Elvenking has decreed that the gates to his realm are to be closed – no one is to enter, no one is to leave. In response an… individual (see, I’m trying to not give away details) questions this decision. The individual says something to the effect of “are we to be protected while the world around us dies?”
The dialogue was simple. It was not drawn out, but it was poignant. As a follower of Christ, as a husband, a father, a pastor, it pierced me. Believers are called to find their comfort and security in Christ, and praise God He provides both! But what are we doing with it? The world around us is dying. It is dying, it is lost, and it is going to hell. Do we interact with the culture around us, or just condemn it? Do we invest ourselves in the lives of lost friends and neighbors, or do we run from them as if they are carriers of spiritual cooties? We find our comfort and security in Christ, which should then give us greater courage to go into the world to proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ because we do so while under His protective umbrella. If we say we find our comfort and security in Christ, but do not intentionally invest in the lives of the lost, what we are really saying is that we do not find our comfort and security in Christ, we are finding it in something else. Whatever that something else is will fail. That something else is likely an idol. That something else has taken reign over the heart. Meanwhile, our lost friends, family, and neighbors are in peril. My comfort and security is in Christ. I have friends and neighbors who if they died tonight would spend eternity in hell. Jesus said He is sending us out as sheep among wolves. He did not invite the wolves into the sheep-pen. We long to see repentance and revival sweep our communities, our country, our world. It will not happen if we hide behind our own gates. Jesus’ call was to come to Him, and when you come to Him, He sends you out. He is your comfort and security. A lost and dying world awaits.