Frodo could not have made it to Mount Doom without the help of the fellowship. Sure, he wasn’t completely helpless on his own; he showed surprising resilience and courage throughout the journey. In fact, the strength of hobbits continually surprised the peoples of Middle Earth throughout the story of The Lord of the Rings. But the truth remains that the fellowship, that band of nine commissioned to carry the ring of power to its destruction, were crucial to Frodo’s success. The fellowship challenged Frodo to grow beyond what he had once thought possible for himself, and, because of their influence, he was able to complete his mission.
God does a great job of putting people in my life who similarly challenge and edify me. Granted, I don’t have an Aragorn to teach me sword fighting, but I find that God places people in my life to help me grow in other important ways.
I’ve recently been humbled as I’ve considered the many friends around me at this point in my life. Some challenge me to pursue a deeper walk with the Lord, others challenge me to discipline myself in my studies, and still others serve to encourage me in my writing. Though their influence differs from one to another, each one is being specially used by God to make me more like Christ, and for that I am ever grateful.
As I think about the blessing these friends are to me, I can’t help but be reminded of this verse:
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
I love watching God use these brothers and sisters to sharpen me, and I am humbled that he would use me to likewise sharpen them. The process drives home the point that none of us are lone rangers, that we are saved to a community, a body (see 1 Corinthians 12 and Hebrews 10:24-25). And in Christ, we grow continually together in sanctification until he receives us into glory.
So today, I thank God for fellowship. I thank him for his good work of sanctification. I thank him for using broken people like me to further his kingdom. And I hope to encourage my friends as we all pursue the Lord together, sharpening each other to ever be better equipped for God’s work in this world.