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Pippin: A Took in Gondor

"The old man laid the sword along his lap, and Pippin put his hand to the hilt, and slowly said after Denethor: “Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, and to the Lord and Steward of the realm, to speak and to be silent, to do and to let be, to come and to go, in need or plenty, in peace or war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me, or death take me, or the world end. So say I, Peregrin son of Paladin, of the Shire of the Halflings.”

Pippin: A Took in Gondor

All of these examples, especially the hobbits, are so typical in their beginnings with our own lives. Few, however, strike me as near to home as that of Peregrine Took, better known to us as Pippin. Pippin was always into everything. Like a curious child, he always had to pick things up, go places he shouldn’t, do things that were prankish or childlike. Yet, these are the qualities that sometimes define me. If that’s true, then perhaps they also remind you of yourself as well.

One thing about this kind of approach to life, you never bother to consider the consequences until it’s too late. Sometimes this can be a good thing, like when Pippin demanded to go with Frodo and Sam on their quest to get rid of the Ring. If Pippin had realized the consequences of that action, and all the danger it would put him in, I doubt very much that he would have been so demanding. Then again, when he just “had” to see how far a pebble would drop down a hole while they were in the Mines of Moria, or when he stole from Gandalf the Palantir to look at it, now those were bad decisions. That pebble made the enemy, hiding in Moria, aware of the Fellowship’s presence, and cost them the loss of their leader, Gandalf, at least for a while. Looking into the Palantir drew the eyes of the enemy to the Fellowship. It nearly undid all the good they had done.

That notwithstanding, Pippin remains one of my favorite characters. Why? Because he is so much like me, and if he can be valuable to the quest, then that means God can use someone like me. That I find encouraging. My wife finds Pippin annoying, because he’s always going off doing something without thinking it through. That’s Pippin! Yet, how many of us are like that as well?

Pippin didn’t remain a childlike, prankish “fool of a Took,” to use Gandalf’s words. The adventures, the dangers, the camaraderie with the others of the Fellowship, and others outside the Fellowship, like Treebeard, helped Pippin to mature. Oh, he still had that light-hearted laugh, that quality that allowed him to enjoy life, but he had grown. He began to think like an adult. You see this when Merry and Pippin are captured by the orcs. It is Pippin who leaves a trail to follow. It is Pippin who helps them escape. It’s even Pippin who seems to be friendlier with Treebeard. Then, after the incident with the Palantir, when Pippin is rushed to Gondor, it is Pippin who pledges his sword to Denethor, Steward of Gondor. When Denethor receives his son injured from battle and decides to go to the Chambers of the Dead and have both Faramir and himself put to death by a funeral fire, it is Pippin who is instrumental in saving Faramir’s life by raising quickly finding Gandalf. Although Denethor dies, Faramir lives. He has become a valiant knight of Gondor.

The Bible teaches us that God takes the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. A better phrasing of that would probably be; God takes those who have no substantial intellect, confuses and even trips up those who have degrees and scholarships to prove how smart they are. God isn’t looking for people who are “intelligent”, but people who are obedient. Sure Pippin made his mistakes, but so do we. The question is do we grow from these mistakes? Do we allow God to let us mature in Him?

The Lord of the Rings movies does the book an injustice by not including “The Cleansing of the Shire”. Unlike some other scenes in the book, this scene is incredibly important, for the quest is more than about getting rid of the Ring. It’s about how these people of the Fellowship have changed. When we come into a relationship with Jesus, it’s not so much whether or not we complete the task God places before us, although that is a definite plus, but whether or not we have changed. We are to be transformed into the image or likeness of God’s Son. Have you? Have I? That is the most important question we can as of ourselves.

     "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (I Corinthians 1:18-21)