Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas: an Unexpected Journey - what The Hobbit, the Shepherds, and Missions have in common

In the new movie, The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, Bilbo Baggins is seen running thru his home in Bagend yelling “Im going on an adventure”. He, the most unlikely of adventurers, is selected to be of great assistance to a company of Dwarves on a mission tied to reclaiming their heritage in the land of Erebor. This unexpected adventure proves to be a life-changing choice for Mr Baggins, a Hobbit of the Shire who never does anything unexpected but faithfully sticks to a routine lifestyle. However his choice is a about a larger purpose unfolding. His choice proves to involve the hinges of the future of the precious world that he resides in called Middle-Earth. 

In the account of Luke 2 in scripture, the Shepherds are found tending their sheep faithfully in their routine lifestyle. Because they also are unlikely candidates, the shepherds are specifically selected to be the first in hearing of the “good news of great joy that will be for all the people”. This unexpected encounter of the lowly shepherds and heavenly Angels proves to be of great significance. It involves the initial entrusting of the precious message of the Gospel to humanity. They were certainly connected to a larger purpose paving the way for missions.
And much like Bilbo Baggins hurrying off on adventure, leaving their sheep behind “they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them”.

You see, everyone has a role to play in proclaiming this Good News, especially the unlikely candidates who give expression to its truth in seemingly unimportant ways.
Perhaps this is why in the same book of Luke chapter 19, the truth taught by Jesus in parable form is included: be trustworthy in the very small matters & you will be entrusted with even more. 
There are enough people to do the job of proclaiming the Gospel. Many people are just disobedient. Or to put it another way, "I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached tribes of the earth... It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond!" 
- Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China and Thailand

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May this new year find you ready, willing, and obedient to proclaim the Good News, especially in the day-to-day tasks. May you also always be ready to take part in any “Unexpected Journey” that is brought into your path by the Lord!


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