"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."
The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The dying words of Thorin Oakenshield, King under the Mountain, are a late confession of a character who lived most of his life dispossessed from his homeland, downtrodden by circumstance, and constantly drawn to reclaim the lost glory and honor of his heritage. His noble and justified intentions were clouded by a lust for riches, which brought about mistrust and regretful moments in the story of reclaiming the Lonely Mountain. This admission of Thorin to Bilbo of the deceitfulness of hoarded gold is a sad, yet powerful truth: our words, attitudes, and actions have a direct influence on the world we live in.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows."
We reap what we sow. It is a biblical principle that both inspires hope and evokes fear. Every day we are sowing seeds that will germinate, grow, and be harvested that not only influence us personally, but the lives of the everyone around us. These seeds of influence are either tarnished by sin or infused with the Holy Spirit. Their impact is never seen immediately, but the world is changed as a result of their fruit.
At the start of this new year, consider, "What seeds am I sowing? What values do I sow through my words, attitudes, and actions today? Have I sown selfish, prideful, hateful, or lustful seeds? Or have I sown selfless, humble, kind, or loving seeds?" We will reap what we sow. And the world tomorrow will grow into what we have planted in it today. If we realize this truth now (and not upon our deathbed, like Thorin Oakensheild), this can truly be a "merrier" world, by the grace of God.