“And I suppose I must go alone, if I am to do that and save the Shire. But I feel very small, and very uprooted, and well-desperate.”
~ Frodo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, CH 2 ~
The word humility has some curious origins. It derives from the latin roots ‘humus’ or ‘humilis.’ Humility can be translated as humble, ‘grounded,’ or ‘from the earth.’ What makes the origins as well as the overall meaning of humility so interesting is its reference to the ground.
Notice that when homage is paid to a person of ranking that out of reverence, we bow? When we lower ourselves to the ground in such a way, we are brought close to the ground. We are dust.
Sarah Arthur illustrates the beautiful irony of humility’s origins as she reflects on the creation of man.
In her book, Walking With Frodo, Sarah Arthur writes:
God says to Adam in Genesis 3:19: “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” God crafted Adam from the dust of the earth and upon Adam’s death that is what became of his body. We humans are no strangers to dust. (pg. 35)
New International Version (NIV)
7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 3:19 New
International Version (NIV)
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Does this imply or suggest that we have no value or worth? No. Does this suggest that we are to lower ourselves and have no self worth? By no means.
What is it to be humble then?
Humility is the genuine practicing of putting others first and serve without want or need for personal gain. Otherwise, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
Frodo The Humble
Frodo acted out of humility when he took on the task as well as responsibility of ring bearer.
Tolkien’s selection of the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, is not a coincidence. The inhabitants of Hobbiton are quite down to earth. They are also very simple people who do not harbor thoughts of glorious deeds. It is that same humility that makes Frodo more resilient to the evil of the One Ring and also the best hope for Middle Earth.
Frodo takes on this perilous journey to Mount Doom without any thoughts of personal gain. In fact, he had nothing to gain from carrying the ring to Mordor. He was far from home and knew little to nothing of the dangers of the world outside the Shire. He had no need for wealth, power, or fame.
When Frodo Baggins took on the mission to save Middle Earth, he had no guarantee of success. For all he knows and loves he was willing to risk life and limb. To save the Shire along with Middle Earth he must brave the long tread from home and the very evils of Sauron, himself.
What We Can Learn From Frodo
IT TAKE HUMILITY TO WIN
Without humbling ourselves before Christ, with a willingness to serve and trust Him, we have no hope of victory over Satan.
1 Peter 5:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.