The Joy of the Lord is your Strength - Anna Evans

In JRR Tolkien’s well known story of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins is guardian to 'the ring'. This ring of power comes under his possession in order for him to steward it and pass it on at the right time. He is never supposed to own the ring. That is, the ring was never supposed to become part of his identity. But the longer he had hold of it, the more he started to own it. And the more he owned it, the more it owned him. At this moment in the story, the ring has started to take hold of him. It has sapped his life and energy to the point that he says to his old friend Gandalf the Wizard, ' I feel thin. Stretched somehow. Like butter spread over too much bread. I need a holiday, a long holiday and I do not think I shall return. In fact I mean not to.'
There are times in our lives when we may be asked to steward something. This could be a job, a responsibility, a ministry opportunity, a financial obligation, a relationship, or any number of other good things. As Christians, it is important that we do not shy away from stewarding these things, even if it is tough.

Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 'Take up your cross and follow me.'  When we are following Jesus in obedience, we can have confidence that the burden of the responsibility will not get the better of us.

We must remember that these things are never supposed to become part of our identity. At the right time, we need to be ready to pass the baton on.

So my question to you today is: are you a good steward of the opportunities and responsibilities that you have been given? Is there something you need to give up today to make space for joy?

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