In the epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, the story revolves around a ring so powerful that the quest of the main characters was to destroy it.
This One Ring was indestructible, except by throwing it into the volcano where it was originally created. The wearer of the One Ring would become invisible but whoever wore or possessed it would be corrupted by its evil influence, manifested as a selfish possessiveness of the ring. Though supposedly powerful, its true power was never fully manifested because only its creator could wield it fully, the epic’s main antagonist Sauron. He was a dark Lord who commanded thousands of evil creatures and allied with other evil races in Middle Earth, the scene of the epic. The One Ring was created by him to dominate over Middle Earth. To be able to exercise that domination, Sauron had to place much of his own power into the One Ring.
I wonder whether the story about the One Ring is an analogy to God and His creation, in a diametrically opposite sense. In Genesis 1, after God made man, the pinnacle of God’s creation, He saw that everything He had made was very good. God had created man in His own image (Gen 1:27) and had given man power to increase in number and to subdue all the other creatures of the earth (1:28), power that can only come from Him. What exactly is this power in us?
Who can most effectively wield it? Are we like the One Ring, whose power is seen on and off but whose full power can only be wielded by our Creator? What is the purpose of that power?
Paul, in 2 Corinthians elaborated on this matter. We are made competent as ministers of a new covenant (3:6); we are given comprehension of God’s glory (4:6) and we are compelled by Christ’s love (5:14). Is this God’s way of unleashing His power in us? We are to spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him (2:14). Is this the purpose of the power in us? How should I view and conduct myself if I have a power in me, part of God’s power, waiting to be unleashed? How should I view others if I know that they too have a power, probably different from mine, also waiting to be unleashed?
There is a traditional story about three little trees with dreams of their future. The first tree dreamt of being made into a treasure chest and being filled with precious stones. The second dreamt of being made into a strong ship carrying powerful kings. The third dreamt of growing so tall that people will be pointed to God whenever they look at it. All three trees grew and were chopped down. The first was made into a feed box for animals, the second into a fishing boat and the third into beam. Years later, the feed box was used to carry a baby born in a barn; the fishing boat was used to carry a group of travellers through a storm that was miraculously stilled from the command of one in the group; the beam was used to hold up a man nailed to it on a cross.
Are you God’s ring? Are you God’s tree?
– Article by Dr Ong Kiat Hoe, YCKC bulletin 12 & 13 January 2013