“Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!’ And they’ll say, ‘Yes, that’s one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave wasn’t he, dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.’”
“It’s saying a lot too much,” said Frodo, and he laughed, a long, clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle Earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. But Frodo did not heed them: he laughed again. “Why Sam,” he said, “to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you’ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the Stouthearted. ‘I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he dad?”’
–JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers
Frodo and Sam were small in their own eyes and in the eyes of the world. They lacked any particular strength or grand ability, but they faithfully carried out the task entrusted them, persevering when all hope seemed lost. In the history of Middle Earth, they became heroes and their story never died.
Granted, they lived within the pages of a novel, yet their tale speaks of something very real in the kingdom of God–the powerful impact of unknown heros, those hidden from the world, but great in the perspective of heaven.
In Lord of the Rings, we’re privileged to witness the way the deeds of the meek shape the history of their land, but most often in life, we can’t see the true impact of our own actions or the actions of those around us. Even the smallest choice to remain faithful to God in the midst of tedium, difficulty, or heartache brings pleasure to God’s heart. We may never receive public acclaim or a place in the earthly annals for our deeds of faithfulness, but we can gain far greater treasure. Where no man even perceives, God keeps account, and nothing goes unseen or overlooked. Our faithfulness matters enough for God to keep written record–books of our life stories–and there’s something tremendously heartening in that knowledge.
What helps you keep the right perspective in the midst of difficult or seemingly unrewarding tasks?