To Whom Much Has Been Given
The Hobbit and gratitude | Plus a gift for all subscribers
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. This week I watched The Hobbit, and something clicked with me from that movie about the reason for this celebration of gratitude.
In the movie, Bilbo is asked by his Dwarf companions why he returned to rejoin their quest when he had an opportunity to flee and go home. This is, after all, a dangerous adventure for everyone involved. The quest Bilbo has embarked on is to help these Dwarves reclaim their mountain home from a dragon. The dragon has for generations stolen these people’s homes, cultural heritage, and sense of belonging in the world.
Bilbo’s answer is perfect….
“I know you doubt me, I know you always have. And you're right. I often think of Bag End (the Shire). I miss my books. And my armchair. And my garden. See, that's where I belong. That's home. That's why I came back, 'cause you don't have one. A home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can.”
Bilbo sees himself as fortunate, and blessed. He is grateful for the life he has in The Shire. For that reason, he begins to see it as his duty to risk life and limb to help his new friends have a home of their own.
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) was a friend and colleague of Tolkien. In his writings on Christianity and the practice of tithing (giving a part of your income to the church), he had this to say about determining the amount a person should give:
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
Put simply….giving should sting, just a little bit. It should be uncomfortable when you’ve given the right amount. Lewis says “There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot” because of our giving. Sacrifice.
Bilbo sacrificed greatly in The Hobbit on his quest beyond the Shire. It was hard. And he found the strength to do it because he was grateful.
We’re grateful for all of you
I am grateful, for so much. Including your reading this email and being part of the Geeky Stoic community. What we do here brings so much richness to my life. Reading, researching, and then writing these emails for you is one of the joys of my life. Thank you for being here.
I’d like to mail you all some gifts ahead of the holiday season. It won’t be cheap, but that’s the point. Click on the bottom below, input your information and you’ll get something in the mail here soon from bothand myself, .
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