“…and that’s for my old gaffer!”
There is a part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Return of the King – 2003) where Sam beats the tar out of a bunch of Orcs who are holding his BFF hostage and torturing poor Frodo.
They had started a fight amongst themselves over their own desires for treasure, and Sam went in and cleaned up what was left of the crew, seething with righteous anger against the doers of terrible evil.
As the Orcs fell to their demise, Sam brazenly announced who and what he was fighting for, as had David in his great and decisive battle with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45).
Sam’s final pronouncement came in honor of his father as the last of the enemy was careening into oblivion.
Where did all this come from? What gave Sam the capacity to be a person who’s loyalty to Frodo extended to the point of leaving everything he had and enduring slow, agonizing suffering without food, water, or even much sleep? Sam even went on with Frodo after all those hardships believing the mission would end in their deaths!
How was Sam able to see dangers that Frodo, deeply burdened, could not? What gave Sam understanding? What gave him the wisdom to make decisions based on what he saw?
Why did Sam follow and protect his BFF even after a weakened Frodo had fallen for the lies of the enemy and rejected Sam? How did Sam know he was Frodo’s only help? Why did he become righteously angry and ready for battle instead of dejected, and wandering away back to the comforts of his own shire? Others had already done so…
I think Sam’s declaration answers all of these questions. Just like David’s battle cry in 1 Samuel 17 as he ran to the fight with Goliath armed with the weapons he alone had been given by God in his life experiences, rather than new weapons, untested, given to him by a king (who relied on weapons of war instead of God); Sam had been “armed” for this moment by all his “old gaffer” had taught him in his life to the point when he left, and also the lessons learned as he traveled on his mission. That openness to learn as he traveled was a huge gift to his whole team.
It’s not that Sam didn’t make mistakes. Young warriors will always fail here and there (as do old warriors), but failure can be a teacher – a lost battle who’s lessons can, by choice, be engaged to win the war. That is exactly how young warriors become veterans!
Sam remembered what he’d been taught, learned from his mistakes, and humbly but confidently went on to win the war, carrying Frodo, who’s strength was gone, up the last mountain to victory, just as Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross the last part of His journey up the hill to Victory (Matt 27:32).
The whole time, the good that Sam’s father had taught him was pulsing inside; alive and growing as Sam moved toward and through his noble task. And Sam did not forget. Not only did he remember those experiences and lessons in his heart; but, in the middle of a battle, he gave a shout that resounded through the battle ground, and echoed off the walls into the darkness. He made his gaffer proud!
“…this one’s for my father!” (our language 😊)
He knew where his strength came from; he embraced it, and did his father’s work as he shouted out his name. (In a fun way, it reminds me of football players waving at the camera and mouthing “hi, mom!” from the end zone.)
Sam won the war, and returned to the shire with new strength, and a better understanding and confidence in who he really was. So much so, that he was emboldened to seek the hand of an awesome spouse, though he had been too insecure before.
What wonderous adventure will God send you on? Are you watching and learning now so you’re prepared then? The size of your adventure, or at least your success in that adventure, will depend on what is in your heart when the wave comes that requires you to ride hard to victory.
Pr 2:1-15, and 20-22
My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
Wisdom will save you from evil people,
from those whose words are twisted.
These men turn from the right way
to walk down dark paths.
They take pleasure in doing wrong,
and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.
Their actions are crooked,
and their ways are wrong…
Follow the steps of good instead,
and stay on the paths of the righteous.
For only the godly will live in the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it.
But the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the treacherous will be uprooted. NLT
Who are you listening to? Where are you taking your heart, mind, and soul for nourishment? Would your father be proud?
Sharpen your swords, and prepare for a great adventure!
October 31, 2021