“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
The above quotation comes from Bilbo Baggins, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. On the surface, Bilbo’s statement would seem to suggest, due to the uncertainty and danger of what might happen beyond your door, that it’s better to just keep the door closed and live quietly at home.
But Bilbo’s own life story argues for quite the opposite. Though he had never wanted to get involved in any adventures, he found himself swept up into a thrilling and momentous quest to recover a lost dwarven kingdom from a greedy dragon (the storyline of The Hobbit). The quest was indeed uncertain and dangerous, and many times Bilbo regretted coming along. But when it was all over, Bilbo had discovered new friends, valuable treasures, and unforgettable experiences. He was more than glad that he had gone on an adventure and soon longed to go on another.
Therefore, far from forbidding daring quests, Bilbo’s words above to his young cousin Frodo are meant to encourage taking wise risks. Once you open yourself up to the possibility of doing something courageous and momentous, there’s no telling in what amazing place you might end up.
Now, while none of us are soon going to have a bunch of burly dwarves knocking on our door asking us if we want to reclaim a mountain, we Christians are regularly presented with the chance to do something that is similarly risky and rewarding: acting on behalf of the Lord Christ.
In such moments of opportunity, we are tempted to just play-it-safe and keep the door closed. But if we will step out in faith—engaging someone in a meaningful conversation, showing generous hospitality, or practicing self-denying service—well, “there’s no knowing where we might be swept off to.”
Furthermore, we have something in our godly risk-taking that is more powerful and precious than even Bilbo’s magic ring: the Lord himself is with us.
Psalm 118:6, The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?
Exodus 3:11-12a, But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” And He said, “Certainly I will be with you.”
Matthew 28:18-20, And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
No wonder, then, that God will hold us accountable for our courage or cowardice (cf. Rev 21:7-8)! Because if the God of the universe, Yahweh of Hosts himself, is on our side, what business do we have not going out of our doors for his sake?
Questions to Consider:
1. Have you ever taken a risk for God that turned out well? What lesson did you learn?
2. Have you ever taken a risk for God that did not turn out well (at least immediately)? What lesson did you learn?
3. What is one specific way that you can “go out of your door” for Christ this week?