One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them… – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Tolkien wasn’t talking about priorities when he wrote that, but we’ll use it to launch into our topic anyway: what you value the most will become your “one ring,” and everything else will orbit around it.
As Christ-followers and kingdom workers we of course want to affirm that following Jesus is our “one ring,” and that our lives revolve around living for him. But consider this angle: in the Lord of the Rings story, the one ring so consumes the person possessing it that they can not give it up. In fact, the ring led most of its owners to their deaths.
Do you have something in your life that you are unwilling to sacrifice? These things can become conditions to our obedience to God. For some, it might be family. Others may hesitate to obey because they are single and don’t want to live life alone. Money can also be a concern. If God’s leading requires you to beg for money to fulfill it, would you obey?
Where do you draw the line in the sand, telling God you will only go so far, and no further?
A young, single woman was settled in the perfect job as a photo-journalist for a non-profit. She got to travel the world taking pictures, recording video, and writing stories about what God was doing in different cultures. She was settled in life as well, surrounded by friends and family. Her parents and siblings lived close by, and her younger sister was pregnant with her first child. Everything was wonderful.
One day she got a call from a school overseas, asking her to come and meet an emergency need as a teacher for a year. Having taught at the school before, she knew what she would be stepping into. She also knew what she would be stepping away from. Nothing inside of her wanted to go, but she felt that she needed to take steps towards this, to see what God wanted her to do. She prayed. She asked for guidance from mentors. She asked the leadership at her non-profit. She considered finances. She hesitated to commit, waiting for and wanting the door to close – but it never did. All counsel was for the move. The money appeared in a matter of days. Sacrificing what she had and loved, she obeyed, and left.
That woman is in good company. Reread Hebrews 11 to catch a glimpse of the biblical people she is following. Many others will follow after her. Will you be one of them?