The Pursuit of Holiness

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series, Frodo is tasked with destroying a ring in its place of origin—a volcano. This task must be completed by him alone. No one else is allowed to “share the load” of the ring’s burden. But the ring wearies Frodo, and he falls down due to exhaustion, just a short walk away from completing his task. But Frodo is not alone. He is accompanied by his friend Samwise Gamgee, who is dedicated to Frodo and his task. Rather than taking the ring himself, he says, “Come, Mr. Frodo! … I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you,” and carts him toward their goal (J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King [London: HarperCollins, 2014], 964). This is a picture of what our pursuit of holiness is like. We are all tasked to live in the Spirit, through his power in us. But there are times when we are worn down and tempted to give up. At those points, we all need a Samwise to bear our burdens, to encourage and carry us as we ascend the mountain together.