How many of you know the story about J.R.R. Tolkien (John Ronald Reuel Tolkien…left side in photo) and C.S. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis…right side in photo)? Yes, there are a multitude of stories… they were great friends…but there is one story that is profound.
First a brief history:
C.S. Lewis =
Every Christian leader on the planet earth has read something from C.S. Lewis. He was and is one of Christianity’s preeminent thinkers. He wrote Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia. PLEASE look him up and explore the life of this amazing man.
J.R.R. Tolkien =
Every “geek” on the planet earth has read something from J.R.R. Tolkien. He also was an amazing Christian thinker and, of course, he wrote The Lord of the Rings. PLEASE look him up and explore the life of this amazing man.
The story I am referring to concerns the initial relationship between these two men. When they first became acquainted with each other they had many things in common; of which they were professors at the University of Oxford and they were published authors who had great interest in myth and fantasy literature.
This is then the very interesting part:
C.S. Lewis was an avowed atheist at this time, while J.R.R. Tolkien was an unashamed Christian.
Though they had diametrically apposed world philosophies, they became friends.
They were friends who could speak and share with one another and not demean one another.
You see, although C.S. Lewis did not believe in Christ, through this relationship he saw the love of Christ. He saw and experienced a man who did not shun him, but greeted him with the open arms of respectful dialog and conversation.
J.R.R. Tolkien did not lambast C.S. Lewis. He became his friend, lived the life of a Christian, spoke to Lewis about their common interests and promoted Christ at every opportunity.
After many long discussions and late night walks, C.S. Lewis was eventually converted to Christianity. It wasn’t overnight (as you will see when you read about his life), but as C.S. Lewis described it: “I came into Christianity kicking and screaming.”
C.S. Lewis credits his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, the Christian author G.K. Chesterton (an outstanding Christian writer!) and the Christian fantasy writer George MacDonald as major influences in his conversion.
NOW imagine if J.R.R. Tolkien would have ignored that atheist named C.S. Lewis.
There would have been an unfilled vacuum of Christian philosophy and literature whose emptiness would have been felt till the return of Christ.
The question makes us think…where have we not been Christ and to whom? Who did we not have a conversation with? When did we not seek answers to the questions of those we influence? Where did we not show patience? Why did we not disregard an emotional outburst, but instead continue to reach out to that hurting person?
Now think about YOUR life. Who do you influence? Who can you influence? Who can you be the love and image of Christ to?
Who can you be the patience of Christ to?
| Daniel Gabriel |