Bilbo Baggins, (from J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit) was like many people in the Bible, and like many of us. He was going along with life day in and day out – eating, drinking, socializing with friends, and maybe even getting a little fatter with all the food and drink he had! Life may not have been perfect, but it was okay. It was routine and relatively predictable. When Gandalf, the wizard, came and told him he was needed for a dangerous and likely unsuccessful adventure, Bilbo was immediately dismissive. “We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” But, Gandalf was as insistent as Bilbo was dismissive. “I will go so far as to send you on this adventure. Very amusing for me, very good for you – and profitable too, very likely, if you ever get over it,” said Gandalf. Bilbo, quick on the draw, cried out, “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not today…but please come to tea – any time you like!”
Sounds a bit like Moses at the burning bush when God suggested he take on the adventure of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. He had similar excuses – I can’t talk in front of people… I don’t know what I’d say to people who asked who sent me…Can’t you choose someone else? In short, he was saying, “Try over The Hill or across The Water. I’m not your man.” But God was as persuasive with Moses as Gandalf was with Bilbo. And each ended up embarking on an amazing adventure – an adventure that was good for them and good for others.
Countless people in Scripture went through this exact process – being asked by God to get on board with an adventure, finding every excuse to stay in their current, comfortable, cozy life, and finally accepting the adventure offered and finding themselves and others transformed as a result. The adventures that come across our path may not be the same as those of Bilbo Baggins or Moses, but we can blurt out the same kinds of denials and excuses, especially if we’re in a ‘season’ that we’re enjoying. We don’t want things disrupted, after all! We might find life a little easier, even if a bit more edgy, if we simply expected one ‘season’ to end and another to begin. If we simply saw the possibility of the next ‘season’ as an adventure worthy of the taking.