I know. Some of you are thinking, “The seventies were too good to you, weren’t they?” Others are thinking, “Frodo? Why Frodo? Why don’t you want to be Superman, or the president, or Jesus?” Still others of you who have been under a rock your whole lives are thinking, “Who’s Frodo?”
For you rock-dwellers, Frodo is the hobbit who, in J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, inherits the One Ring from his uncle Bilbo and agrees to take it to the Cracks of Doom to destroy it, thus saving Middle Earth from the evil dominion of Sauron. Got it?
Okay, now maybe I can explain. Frodo is my hero. He’s not strong. He’s not tall (probably 3-foot-nothing). He’s not powerful, influential, or famous. He’s not dashing. He doesn’t get the girl.
So, what’s to like about him?
Just this: in spite of all the things he isn’t, he still takes upon himself the most important, most deadly, most adventurous, most outrageous task ever known in fiction. Knowing that he is not likely to survive or even to succeed, he still stands up in the Council of Elrond, and says, “I will take the ring to Mordor, though I do not know the way.”
In giving Frodo the task of bringing down Sauron, Tolkein turns the world on its head. The small and insignificant becomes the hero. The meek and mild go where the mighty fear to tread. But, of course, Tolkein didn’t originate this kind of thinking. He got it from the source. He got it from the Word of God.
Look at your Bible and see how God turns the world upside down. How many times does he champion the underdog? How many times does he use the small and insignificant to overthrow the mighty?
Here’s a start:
- Abram was a childless wanderer, and God made of him a great nation.
Jacob was a cheat and a momma’s boy, yet God made him father of the 12 tribes of Israel.
- Joseph was a slave and a prisoner, from a family of shepherds. God made him second in command of Egypt, the greatest nation on earth.
- Moses was a murderer and a refugee with a speech impediment. God used him to free his people.
- The nation of Israel was a clan of 70 people. They became a nation of slaves. God freed them and made them the chosen people who would make his name known throughout the world, and through whom the Messiah would come.
- David was the youngest son of an obscure shepherd. God gave him victory over Goliath and made him a great conqueror.
And then there is Jesus, the creator of the universe, he of the triune god, who becomes an infant, grows to manhood, and dies a horrible death on a cross. Defeating Satan for all time, achieving victory through surrender, making sinners into children of God—how's that for standing the world on its head.
That's why Frodo is my hero. He's a small (pun intended) reflection of Jesus.
As we are all intended to be.