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Feed My Sheep

Jimmy Cochran Columnist

(Vintage Jimmy)

  Over the recent Thanksgiving holidays, one of our cable channels has been playing the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in daily marathons. These are among my top favorite movies and I cannot resist watching them whenever they are shown. This time was no different. I watched every one of them... each time, every day, all day. Even though these are movies that I have seen over and over, I am still drawn to the television when they are showing. If you have seen the movies (or any one of the trilogy), you know that there are many strong, capable, and courageous characters in the story.

  Yet, each time I watch the trilogy, I have become more and more impressed by a quiet hobbit named Sam rather than by one of the “real heroes” in the story.

  About midway through the movie Faramir, Captain of Gondor, begins to question the main character, Frodo, and asks: “Who are you?” He replies, “We are hobbits of the Shire. I am Frodo Baggins and this is Samwise Gamgee.” Then Faramir turns to Sam and asks, “Are you his bodyguard?” Sam replies, “No sir, his gardener.”

   I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider myself much of a hero. I was never a great athlete or class president.  I’m not rich, famous or outstandingly handsome. I am certainly no Billy Graham or other great evangelist. But, I’d like to think that I am a good “Sam.” Even though Sam is only the gardener and has no qualifications for a dangerous mission, he faithfully stands beside Frodo and steadfastly plunges forward despite the threats to their lives.

  At different points during the movie, Frodo would turn on Sam as the Ring became more powerful, even attempting to harm Sam at times. Yet, Sam stayed faithful to his friend. At the conclusion, even Frodo realizes that he would never have made it without the encouragement and support of his loyal friend, Sam.

  There are a lot of “Sams” in the scriptures. Those people whose names you’ve never heard before and never hear of again.  They are the ones who are doing the work of the church; yet receive little recognition except through a mention by writers of the New Testament letters. I don’t think I’ll ever be a Peter or a Paul, but I can be an Urbanus or an Apelles. You may not be like Mary or Martha but maybe you can be a Tryphena or Tryphosa.

  Paul the apostle also said, “Now it is required that those who have been given trust in a task must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)

  You and I may not be super Christians, but we can be faithful and God can use us to make a huge difference in our world. Like Samwise Gamgee , we just need to do our part serving the Lord to the best of our ability. You may not be especially qualified for the job, but just being there and doing your best, day in and day out, is what it takes to eventually get the job done. I sometimes consider myself a plodder, and I think the church and the world need more plodders ... like Sam.

  My favorite line in the movie is near the end when Sam says to Frodo: “There is some good in this world Mr. Frodo, and it is worth fighting for.” Without a doubt, the cause of Christ is worth fighting for. It is worth the ridicule when it comes our way and when the task of spreading the Word seems fruitless and our friends begin to turn against us.

  I would like to encourage you today to be content as a Sam, or an Urbanus or a Tryphena.

   And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy (with some discussion ideas from Larry Zinick).


  Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, author, musician and minister.



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