Last week I was chatting to a friend about a current battle he is facing. He’s not the first person to go through that situation, so I encouraged him to find older, more experienced people who have already worked down that path. Those people can help him in making the best possible choices as he faces those same battles now?

When talking, for some reason my mind went to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so the question came out as, “Who are the Gandalfs and Elronds you need to learn from?” And that then got me thinking to the wider parallels between Frodo’s mission of destroying the ring of power, and the unique call on each of our lives. What are the different roles that friends or foes played in Frodo’s life? Do we need some of those people in our lives?

Gandalfs and Elronds – As already said, these are the wise people who can give you advice. They’re not going to get involved and do it all for you, but they can have valuable experience and counsel you don’t want to miss. Do you have people like this in your life?

Aragorn – The person who will stand up and fight for you. We all need this person at various points. Maybe it’s your immediate boss, but it’s usually someone higher up in the organisation, or further down the road of life. Do you have someone who will stand up for you, defend you, and open doors for you?

Sam – The faithful friend who will always be there, no matter what. They may also be brave, or wise, or powerful. Or they might not be any of these. But the most important thing is that they are loyal. Do you have a friend who is always there for you, and walks alongside you during the darkest struggles of life?

Saruman – The one who wants to be Gandalf, but gives bad advice. The older person who made some bad choices, became bitter, and shows you the sort of person you don’t want to become.

Gollum – The contemporary that you could become, if you succumb to bitterness and temptation. But maybe also the contemporary you therefore want to help, to see if you can bring them back?

Sauron – The big cause that you are fighting for. Do you have clarity on your life’s mission? Whether it’s to fight against an injustice, or spread something good in the world?

Which of these characters do you already have in your life? And are there any that you want to find?

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and currently researching for a biography on William Wilberforce. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.

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