Since we are preparing to journey, I decided to visit Middle Earth through reading “The Lord of the Rings” again. I enjoy the sense of mission, the adventures and the honor and respect within the fellowship. It is rich with beautiful imagery and encouragement. But in this reading, I came away with a fresh perspective on stewardship.
The Steward of Gondor was supposed to lead until the king returned, but that had not happened for generations. The realm of Gondor and all of Middle Earth stood on the brink of war and their defeat seemed imminent. The Steward, Lord Denethor, had become obsessed with power and paranoid of anyone usurping his rulership. Gandalf came on the scene to help, but was met with suspicion.
This is what Gandalf said concerning his intentions:
“The rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task , though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward, did you not know?”
Tolkien presents a continual contrast between those who seek power for rulership and then are corrupted by it and those who have power to bring healing, wisdom and restoration. When the king does return to Gondor, he comes as a healer and one who is mighty in battle. The rulership is rightfully his, yet he waits to be invited in.
I was reminded of the stewardship each one of us has during our lives to serve in the area of our abilities. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that all power and authority belongs to God, the King, who is entirely good and incorruptible. There is so much good that we can do when we know our place as stewards of the grace of God.
There was a recent election here in the Philippines and we are approaching a major election in the US. I am sure there are many people running for office who sincerely see public office as a stewardship to help people. There are many needs throughout the world and so much good that can be done, but government service is often sadly reduced to a game of power, rulership and wealth.
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1Peter 4:10)