Wednesday, February 4, 2015
The meanings a dictionary gives to certain words sometimes seem to fall short and don't always satisfy me. One such word is “loyalty.” Sometimes, we can better understand certain words when we hear what others have to say about them. In the case of loyalty, one anonymous person said: “If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn’t follow. I’d be at the bottom to catch them when they fall.” Here are two more anonymous quotes: “A loyal friend is one who loves you more than he loves himself ” and “In my life, my most loyal friends have been dogs.” My personal favorite quote depicting loyalty, however, came from none other than Winnie the Pooh, when he told Christopher Robin, “If you live to be a hundred, I hope I live a hundred minus one day, so I don’t have to live without you.” I’m just a corny and incurably sentimental old geezer because just picturing that scene in my mind brings a tear to my eyes.
I take this bible verse as a reminder to be loyal: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3) and whenever I think of the word “loyalty”, several people immediately come to my mind, some in the bible, some in my life, some living, and some now with the Lord. One such biblical figure was Ruth. Naomi, her mother in law, years after her own husband and her two sons died in Moab, was leaving and going back to Bethlehem. Ruth, as well as Naomi’s other daughter in law, Orpah vowed to go with her. Naomi pleaded with them to stay in Moab and try to find husbands and make their own lives there claiming she had nothing to offer them. Orpah agreed and stayed behind but Ruth, in one of the best known passages in the Bible, told her: “Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) You can call that love, faithfulness, or devotion; I choose to call it loyalty.
Another loyal biblical figure was Ittai, a foreigner who chose to follow David and convinced 600 of his fellow Philistines to do the same. On the day when David was fleeing from his son Absalom, David tried to convince Ittai to go back to his own country and take his men with him, suggesting he was not bound or obligated to continue following him. Ittai replied: “As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.” (2 Samuel 15:21) Now, that, is loyalty! If you have such a person in your life, you are blessed indeed and should be very grateful to God for it. On the other hand, can you honestly say you yourself are loyal to your spouse, friends, or loved ones? I hope you can because we’ve all known many who are not. On the bright side, however, all of God's children have at least One who will never leave or forsake them.
Memory verse for the week: (2 Timothy 2:24) “And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”