Last week, I gushed about The Tolkien Professor and his lectures. Since then, I have been listening to them off and on, and I found myself oddly encouraged by one of them this morning. It's called, "On Masters and Servants". It's a discussion between Prof. Olsen and one of his students about the relationship between Frodo and Sam and Sam's status as a servant in The Lord of the Rings. Prof. Olsen thinks that Sam's lowly status marks him as the greatest of all, noting Tolkien's pattern of giving the weakest characters the most internal strength and quoting Jesus' principle from Mark 9:35, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all".
This discussion encouraged me in my job description as helper this morning; it helped me to remember that while it may be a lowly position with very little recognition, it is of infinite worth in God's eyes. Wives and mothers often find themselves receiving as much prestige as Sam, who, in Tolkien's short summary of The Lord of the Rings, isn't even mentioned by name, despite being indispensable in the saving of Middle Earth.
If you get a chance, listen to this discussion. It's about 45 minutes long, but the Sam section only lasts for a little over half the time, so you can shorten it if you wish. Some basic knowledge of the books is good, but not necessary, as Prof. Olsen refers to the movies almost as often as the books in this installment. Enjoy, and let me know if any of you helpers are encouraged by this like I was.