This week we continue in Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. I’d like to share again, the beginning of last week’s sermon (never hurts to hear something twice, right?):
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote this to his son, Christopher, “The unpayable debt I owe to CS Lewis was not influence as it was ordinarily understood, but sheer encouragement. He for a long time was my only audience and only from him, did I ever the get the idea that my stuff could be anything more than a private hobby.”
The stuff he’s referring to is the greatest epic novel ever written, The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien wrote them for his children, for his two sons and his daughter to read at bedtime, and he thought of it as a private hobby. But it was his friend, C.S. Lewis, who encouraged him with what Tolkien calls, sheer encouragement. “Only from him did I get the idea that my stuff could be anything more than a private hobby.”
Whenever I read Tolkien’s letter, Fred Roger’s 1997 Emmy speech comes to mind. Have you heard it?
Oh, it’s a beautiful night in this neighborhood.
So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here. Some are far away. Some are even in heaven.
All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.
Would you just take along with me 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are — those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life?
Ten seconds of silence.
I’ll watch the time.
Whomever you’ve been thinking about — how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made.
Who is your C.S. Lewis? Who believed in you before you ever believed in yourself? Who is your Fred Rogers? Who shared the love of God with you before you even knew it? Who is your Apostle Paul? Who has gifted you sheer encouragement? In your life, and especially in your life of faith?
How pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made.
Yours for the journey,