While watching Lord of the Rings the other day, I decided two best friends have never been seen like Frodo and Sam. When Samwise mutters that iconic promise to Frodo "Come on Mr. Frodo. I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!" I always find myself wondering if I could be a friend like that. Could I really be someone who was willing to go through the fires of Mordor for my friend? To carry them up a mountain when they have a burden so strong that they can no longer walk themselves? Then I began to think...who am I a Sam for?
I have a little girl in my life that I have never met. She is my child, but only in the way that I sponsor her financially and relationally. Yet am I not a Sam to her? She is living, struggling, under this burden of poverty. A burden she didn't ask for, yet a burden she must carry. I chose to follow her on this journey. To be there for her. To write her letters, encourage her, and never leave her even if the journey gets rough. I am the Sam to her Frodo.
Think about it. How different would the Lord of the Rings have turned out if Sam had decided not to follow through on his promise? What would have happened if he had left when Frodo accused him? Let Frodo die in Mordor without another thought? Sauron would have won. The ring would never have been destroyed. All of Middle Earth would have sunk into Shadow.
If she is my Frodo and I am her Sam, then it is my responsibility to encourage her along this difficult journey. Yet what if I do not? What if I never write her letters? What if I never care to answer her questions, or I don't pray for her? What if I don't tell her how beautiful she is or how much I love her? Who will if I don't? Will her story end well? Or will her world sink into the shadow of self-doubt, lack of confidence, and lose the battle with poverty?
Gandalf made Sam promise to never leave Frodo while they were on this journey together. It was a promise Sam took to heart and honored with every fiber of his being, even to the point of near death. Jesus elicited a same promise from us in Matthew 25:34. He says "'Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’"
We were charged with a duty. To protect the helpless, feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothe the naked, invite in the stranger. To love and encourage on this life journey. Like Sam, I accepted the promise. Now is the time to follow through. Now I need to be willing to say "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!" I might never have to physically carry my friend up the Mountain of Doom to destroy a ring that will control the fate of all people. But I do have a duty to write letters, to encourage, to love, and pray for my Frodo. To be her encouragement, her prayer warrior, her Sam.
Eventually, this journey will come to a close. Eventually my Frodo will leave. She will grow up and take the last ship out of poverty. She will become a young woman whom I will be proud of. I will probably have very little communication with her, if any. Her next adventure will be one that I will not take part. Like Sam as he tearfully bids Frodo goodbye, my parting time will come. Will I be able to rest secure, knowing that I did everything in my power to help her along this journey? Knowing that she was able to conquer the burden of poverty? Yes. Because like Sam, I accepted my promise. I will be there for her. And when she embarks on that next journey, she won't be going alone. Because like Frodo has the ever watchful Gandalf, she will have Jesus. He will never leave her, nor forsake her. And He is with her on her every adventure.
So today, sponsors, I challenge you. Be a Sam to your Frodo. Lift them up when they can't do it themselves. Encourage them in the ways of our Savior. And be willing to say "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!"