Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

9 September 2009

A Leaf by Niggle

In 1938... JRR Tolkien was writing the Lord of the Rings. A massive undertaking that took a great deal of time, effort and intention to undertake... but he felt it well worth it. The masterful handcrafting of "Middle Earth" was a seemed a God-task given to him. It was then that his beautiful little short story "A Leaf by Niggle" was born.

"it arose from my own pre-occupation with the Lord of the Rings, the knowledge that it would be finished in great detail or not at all, and the fear (near certainty) that it would be 'not at all'. The war had arisen to darken all horizons... that story was the only thing I have ever done which cost me absolutely no pains at all. Usually I compose only with great difficulty and endless rewriting. I woke up one day with that odd thing virtually complete in my head. It took only a few hours to get down, and then copy out."

"A Leaf by Niggle" is a simple, pretty, and provokingly deep allegory of both, Tolkien's creative process and spiritual journey. God actually pointed me in "A leaf by Niggle's" direction this week while I was praying about what to speak about on Sunday at Freedom House. No matter how many times one does it... it's still a daunting feeling to think about the fact that the Almighty wants to use your mouth to teach a group something about His Kingdom and His character. As I was praying about it... God said the words, "
tell them a story."

What story Lord?" I asked. As He usually does, He responded. I heard him say, "JRR Tolkien wrote a short story about heaven. Find it and tell it." Seemed like a bit of a faith step just to begin my search, but I did just that. It DID exist. I found it. And I took about 40 minutes to read it out loud Sunday morning. It's just a gem of a story that paints a beautiful picture of how God's story... IS using the imperfect, niggly little us's to reflect His hope of a future worth living.

""Well," said the Second Voice, "there are these. He was a painter by nature. In a minor way, of course; still, a Leaf by Niggle has a charm of its own. He took a great deal of pains with leaves, just for their own sake... "I think it is a case for a little gentle treatment now," said the Second Voice.

Niggle thought that he had never heard anything so generous as that Voice. It made Gentle Treatment sound like a load of rich gifts, and the summons to a King's feast. Then suddenly Niggle felt ashamed. To hear that he was considered a case for Gentle Treatment overwhelmed him, and made him blush in the dark. It was like being publicly praised, when you and all the audience knew that the praise was not deserved. Niggle hid his blushes in the rough blanket."

Such a lovely piece of writing by a man who used his gifts for his King's glory that would have remained buried in time... had God not dug it out for me. You can read the whole thing here

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