If More of Us Valued Home Above Gold, it Would be a Merrier World

Hobbit Survival This post will be free of major spoilers.  It will, however, reveal several elements from the plot of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. If you are planning to see the movie, you may want to save this article until later. Don’t forget about it, though! Thanks, friends!

Hello friends! This week marks the release of the final film in “The Hobbit” trilogy. I had the pleasure of watching “The Battle of the Five Armies” with my good friend, and fellow Gamerfaith writer, Craig Cooper. Craig managed to find an awesome deal on 3D Imax tickets, so all of the film’s intense action was super-sized. It wasn’t the action, however, that stood out the most in the movie. Craig and I sat in silence, speechlessly staring at the screen as the credits rolled. After nearly 13 years of Middle-Earth movie adventures, this was the end of the epic six part series. It was quite an ending. Before I get too far let me say, not everyone will like this movie. It is intense, action-filled, and tragic all at once. In addition to all of this, though, is a message that should pierce into all of us. This is an applicable message that challenges us to look into our hearts. So what is that message? Thorin Oakenshield says it better than me…

If more of us valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

or perhaps you prefer the words of J.R.R. Tolkien.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -J.R.R. Tolkien

That’s right. Greed is one of the huge themes in Five Armies. Thorin, leader of the dwarven party, has finally won the kingdom of Erebor back from the evil dragon Smaug. All is not well, though. Thorin begins to let the massive golden treasure hoard of Erebor corrupt his mind. The gold seems to be cursed with something called “dragon sickness.” Thorin begins to place his love of gold before the well being of the people of Laketown, his dwarven companions, and even himself. Thorin’s greed even threatens to bring war.

1 Timothy 6:6-12 (ESV) 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Read all of 1 Timothy 6 here!

 How to Cure Dragon Sickness

Thorin Oakenshield

The interesting thing about Thorin’s greed is that he repeatedly defends it. He convinces himself that his love of gold is worth the pain that it brings. After all, what could compare to the awesome treasure of Erebor? Isn’t Thorin justified to defend the treasure that he won?

Most people would probably say that there are many things in life that are more important than money. What do your actions and lifestyle show, though? When you die, your savings account doesn’t matter. Sometimes we need to take a minute and truly analyze where our treasures are. Wherever our treasures are, that is where our heart is. When Thorin allowed his treasure do be in the dark caverns of Erebor, his heart fell into darkness. If we seek treasure in the things that matter to God, our hearts will also be set on those things. Where is your heart at?

So how do we cure dragon sickness? Let’s take a look at a few pointers in the verse above:

  • Flee the love/craving for money
  • Pursue Righteousness
  • Pursue Godliness
  • Pursue Faith
  • Pursue Love
  • Pursue Steadfastness
  • Pursue Gentleness

One of my favorite scenes in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is when (spoiler warning) Thorin looks at his reflection in the vast golden halls of Erebor. He begins to realize that he is becoming the same way that Smaug was. If he continues down this path, he will drown in the gold that he has set his heart on. Thorin realizes this danger, and changes the focus of his heart. He focuses on his fellow brothers, on honor, and on the well being of others. He puts his foot down and asks his brethren to stand with him one last time. Thorin then leads his kin into battle, and leaves the gold of Erebor behind.

Just as Thorin did, we can flee the love of gold. We can pursue love. We can stand up in honor, and fight for the things that matter to God.

Luke 12:15-34 (ESV)

15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Read all of Luke 12 here!

Where Do I Begin?

I have learned at least three very practical (but important) truths than can help with this issue:

  1. Consistent lifestyle changes are more effective than extreme temporary changes.
  2. Donating to charity is one of the easiest, most effective, and most rewarding ways to make a difference. It also checks your heart. People often seek out reasons not to do this. Remember, money is just money. It comes and goes. Seek treasure that matters. Don’t become like Smaug.
  3. God takes care of His children.

I’m not going to be pushy and force you to make donating to charity a part of your life. I will, however, strongly suggest it. Making a habit of doing this each week has blessed me beyond description. There are a lot of good places out there. Some places like Living Waters strive to share the gospel. Other places like Samaritan’s Purse work to help people who are in need, in the name of Jesus. Find a ministry that is laid on your heart, and go for it! It’s a good way to keep the Smaug of greed at bay.

Click here to read more about why I find donating to be so important.

This, overall, is just one of many ways that we can (and should) pursue the treasures of God. No matter if you are a man, elf, dwarf, hobbit, Dúnedain, ent, or something entirely different… you can fight for something that matters. Will you pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness?

Follow in Thorin’s example. Flee from greed, and stand for love.

Will you follow me one last time? -Thorin Oakenshield

I love you guys, and am praying for you (as usual).

-Caleb

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Below is the Photo Source for “If More of Us Valued Home Above Gold, it Would be a Merrier World” These artist(s) do not necessarily share my viewpoints, but have kindly released their work under a creative commons licence. Follow the links below to find the original artists and copyright license:

Gafa Kassim – Thorin OakenshieldNuwandalice – Hobbit

1 Comment

  • Calanon says:

    This is an awesome read, especially for me as a Christian, but also for the every day reader as well. I think this post is highly underrated, and absolutely, this segment from The Battle of the Five Armies is a must-see for everyone.

    This movie was such a powerful conclusion to an epic saga for me (despite popular belief), and I agree, Thorin’s death was a very tragic but moving and wisdom-filled moment. It’s quite a controversial message, because it goes against the world’s message of materialistic wealth, but ultimately it sheds light on an area that many people don’t stop to value or consider: happiness and home.

    It’s so refreshing to see someone out there broadcast this message, when most others are too concerned with worldly ambitions or shallow goals.

    The world needs more people like you. Cheers!

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