Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Tolkien and Peter

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”- Gandalf, from The Fellowship of the Ring

I know tons of people have heard the one bit of that quote, “Not all who wander are lost.” I’ve seen it on shirts, rings, cups, and all over Facebook. You can find it under my favourite quotes. I’ve really been trying to live a life like the one we are instructed to live like in Peter’s 1st epistle. He addresses his readers as God’s elect exiles, his chosen aliens if you will. To those who are are in Christ Jesus, we must remember that this is not our home. Peter’s readers were enduring much persecution from the Roman world, and it was for comfort and instruction that Peter taught them of their true citizenship.

How often though can we say as Christians we live like this is only temporary? Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount that we shouldn’t store up treasures on earth where rust and moths destroy, but rather store up treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.1 Peter 1:3-5

Not all that is gold glitters here on the earth. The shining glory of God our Father awaits us. For the saints of God, there is something to hold on to, an inheritance kept in heaven by the Saviour. When our faith is tested, it is more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire. All this awaiting at the revelation of Jesus’ second coming.

Not all who wander are lost

This is not our home:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which rage war against your soul.1 Peter 2:11

Sojourners – we only have a temporary stay on this earth. Though we wander the face of the globe, in Jesus we aren’t lost. Though we aren’t in our home as a exiles we have direction. One that involves following and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus. No longer following the passions of our former ignorance (1 Pt 1:14) but rather waging war against the flesh. Keeping upon the path illumined through the saving grace of Jesus.

Apart from Jesus there is wandering filled with lostness, being called not a people with no mercy. But with Christ called a people who are shown mercies that never cease.

The old that is strong does not wither

Jesus, God from the beginning, creator of all things. The word which became flesh, through whom and by whom all things were created.

Peter reminds us:

You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.1 Peter 1:23-24

The word of God is strong and does not wither, though all other things will fade away. The word of the Lord is forever.

Deep roots are not reached by the frost

Jesus is called by Peter summoning from the Old Testament:

Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.


A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.1 Peter 2:6-8

Just as the roots of a tree are its support, so is the cornerstone of a building. With no cornerstone the building cannot stand. It stands solid supporting the entirety of the building. Because of the cornerstone those in Christ can:

Come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.1 Peter 2:4-5

Our roots, our foundation is firm in Jesus.

Sojourning- soli deo gloria


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