What is Loyalty?
Good News Magazine
July 1972
Volume: Vol XXI, No. 4
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What is Loyalty?

Why is loyalty such a vital characteristic we, as Christians, must be developing?

   IN today's world fewer and fewer people can really be trusted. It seems that mankind in general is — becoming more disloyal and unfaithful every day.
   Politicians are known for preelection promises which somehow never seem to be honored once they are in office. Rare is the officeholder who is loyal to the voters who elected him. It seems they always forget, or deliberately ignore, the issues on which they were elected.
   National governments are no better than the politicians who compose them. Peace treaties, even mutually favorable pacts, are only made to be broken. Because of selfish interests, nations reserve the right to break a treaty when it suits them.
   The book of Proverbs sums it up well in chapter 20:6, "Many a person is called kind, but a trustworthy [loyal] man is a rare find" (Moffatt).

Our God Is Loyal

   But contrasted to man, our God can be trusted. We can rely on His many promises. Notice Deuteronomy 7:9: "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which KEEPETH covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations."
   You can be sure that God will not break His word to give us "... eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus 1:2).
   But what about us?

Are We Still Loyal to God?

   When we were baptized, we also made a promise to God. Notice mans 6:3-4: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
   This was what we AGREED to do. To forsake our own ways and lead a new life in obedience to all God's commandments.
   Have we forgotten to be loyal to that agreement as time has gone by? Have we let sins overtake us again so that the conditions of the contract we made have become blurred? Has Satan, "broadcasting" to all people as he does, persuaded you to be disloyal to God and His laws just a little bit, convincing you it isn't all that important if you don't keep every principle of God's law? If so, can you really expect God to feel bound to keep His part of the agreement, seeing you have broken yours?
   No, brethren, God expects you to be LOYAL to Him in everything!

Be Loyal to God's Work

   Loyalty goes far beyond simple honesty. Loyalty is required even in cases when no specific promise or commandment is involved. God has called us to do a job. Loyalty on our part means putting our hearts and efforts into that job.
   The church today is like a modern-day Ezekiel, commanded to take a message to the people and show them the way out of their misery and on into the World Tomorrow. God told Ezekiel:
   "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul" (Ezek. 3:17-19).
   This stern warning applies to God's Church. If any of us are disloyal in the responsibility God has given us, be it in the paying of God's tithes and giving of offerings or our Prayers as an ordinary layman, He says we are preventing His warning message from reaching more people and are thus being DISLOYAL TO HIS WORK! Perhaps you never thought of this as being disloyalty, but it is!
   Look at it this way. Suppose you are a member of a basketball team and your captain institutes practices three days a week, stressing that the success of the team depends on every man showing up faithfully for practice and giving of himself wholeheartedly. But you continually miss practices and treat the affair lightly. Eventually, the captain would replace you with someone else who would be loyal to the team. You1 disloyalty would eventually remove you from your position.
   So brethren, it is imperative that we REMAIN LOYAL to God's Work to remain on His "team," lest God grant someone else our places.
   We are all in this great Work together. We must all work together as a team. If any one of us lets down, we hold hack and affect the whole team!
   Loyalty to God's Work means diligence as well. God counts half-heartedness as disloyalty. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently [margin)..." (Jer. 48:10). So if you miss out on praying daily, studying the Bible diligently, looking for ways to serve, keeping the Work uppermost in your mind, then it is the same as being disloyal to the Work of God. Perhaps we haven't thought about it this way, but it's true nevertheless.
   Learn to be 100 percent loyal to the part God has given you in His Work!

Be Loyal to Those God Sets Over You

   God uses human instruments to do His Work and to oversee the Church. We are commanded to "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Heb. 13:17).
   But where should you stand in the event one God has set in an office over you is not doing all that he should do? You should still be loyal. The life of David provides an outstanding example in this respect.
   David was loyal to King Saul, even when Saul was out to kill him. Even though Saul had been rejected by God, David did not feel it was his prerogative to usurp Saul's authority. David realized he had no right to treat with contempt the office Saul still held.
   Notice I Samuel 24:l-6: "And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him. saying. Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave....
   "Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD."
   In another incident, David again had the opportunity to kill Saul. Humanly speaking it would have seemed the right thing to do, knowing that he would immediately become king himself in Saul's place. But David again restrained himself from such action — out of loyalty to Saul's office. "And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed, and be guiltless?" (I Sam. 26:9.)
   From time to time the ministers of God's Church are transferred to new areas. You need to be as loyal to the new minister as you were to the one who left for another assignment. Remember, it is GOD who places each man in his respective office. We can see the principle clearly by observing the succession of Joshua to the office Moses held.
   "And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Elcazar the priest, and before all the congregation: and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient" (Num. 27:18-20).
   Disloyalty to those over us is abhorrent to God. He cannot use anyone who ha? this trait. Do you remember what happened to Korah and his associates who despised the office Moses held (Num. 16)? God upholds the office of those over us and expects us to do the same.

Be Loyal to Your Employer

   Labor management relations problems perpetually plague the world of commerce and industry. Workers strike to achieve their ends, justified or unjustified. Many are out to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible. They have no loyalty to company, supervisor, or employer.
   But God tells Christian employees to set an example of faithfulness and service, so God's name will not be blasphemed. "Let as many servants {employees] as are under the yoke count their own masters [employers] worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine HE NOT BLASPHEMED" (I Tim. 6:1).
   "Exhort servants [employees) to be obedient unto their own masters [employers], and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Titus 2:9-10).
   "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with goodwill doing service, AS TO THE LORD, and not to men" (Eph. 6:5-7).
   Paul made it plain that we are to consider service to our human employer the same as service to Jesus Christ Himself!
   But what if your company treats its workers selfishly and dishonestly?
   "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully" (I Peter 2:18-19).
   If you have a good and thoughtful employer, especially one who is also a member of God's Church, it is easy to forget he is also over you. But you should respect him as an employer and boss, giving him loyalty in man-hours, hard work and dedication, as Paul said in I Timothy 6:2:
   "And they that have believing masters [employers], let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit...."
   Tardiness. absenteeism, and a slothful approach to work can earn you dismissal from "outside" companies, but some of us expect our brother-employers to put up with such disloyalty without complaint!
   Of course the employer who is a fellow member of God's Church is more hesitant to correct or fire a worker who is also in the faith. But this is all the more reason for us to avoid tardiness, absenteeism and sloth, and to be one hundred percent faithful and loyal!

Be Loyal to Those Under You

   Loyalty is a two-way street. It is hypocritical being loyal only to those over you and not also to your subordinates. Even David made this mistake. He was disloyal to one of his devoted soldiers who remained absolutely loyal to him. and this led to the greatest of all the sins David committed.
   We read the account in II Samuel 11:6-17. Uriah was one of the top warriors in David's army (II Sam. 23:39), noted for his bravery and valor. Uriah's unfailing loyalty and devotion contrasted greatly with David's disloyal and despicable action toward him. To cover up his adultery with Uriah's wife, David finally resorted to murder.
   "And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were. And the men of the city went out and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also" (verses 14-17).
   David sinned. And for this sin David paid dearly, though he was completely forgiven when he repented.
   You who are over others, do you give them the same loyalty you expect to receive from them? Husbands, are you loyal to your wives, your children? Do you back up your wives when it comes to the important subject of child rearing? Or do you fall down in this respect?
   In admonishing servants to be faithful and loyal to their masters, God at the same time tells the masters to be loyal to their servants. Notice Ephesians 6.9. "And you masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."
   And again in Colossians 4:l: "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." Those who are not loyal to those under them, who defraud their employees and hold back their just and equal wages, will have to answer to God (see James 5:l-5).
   God demands we be loyal to those under our authority, as He — who is over all — is loyal to us!

Be Loyal to Your Word

   At the beginning of this article we saw that God is loyal to His Word, that we can have faith in what He said. He expects us to be the same. Do you recall what Jesus said about not swearing today? The account is in Matthew 5:33-37:
   "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."
   In Old Testament times God's people, like others, often backed up their promises or statements with ar. oath taken before God, or by using God's name. They felt this bound them to tell the truth, or to do as they said. But Christ tells us that our word as a New Testament Christian should be enough! We shouldn't need to have anything to support what we promise. When we say we will do something, everyone should know we mean it!
   Yet it is a sad fact that some of us break promises on the slightest excuse. We don't see that it matters very much. By this action we manufacture a credibility gap for ourselves. And we break the Ninth Commandment which tells us NOT to bear false witness!
   But what shall we do when we make arrangements or promises with every good and right intention, and then later something crops up preventing us from fulfilling our word? In this case we are obligated to explain about our change of plans and apologize for not being able to carry out what we said. But some of us don't even do that! Such negligence makes one untrustworthy and disloyal to others. They will find it difficult to believe what such a one says in the future.
   Notice Proverbs 13:17: "A wicked [untrustworthy, disloyal] messenger falls into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health." We, brethren, are ambassadors for Christ. We must be loyal and faithful, establishing a reputation for being men and women of our word!

Loyalty Will Be Rewarded!

   Many ages ago a great archangel became disloyal to his Creator and tried to usurp God's authority and position. As a result, Lucifer was cast down and soon will be dismissed from his governmental office.
   Similarly, no Christian who is disloyal or unfaithful may qualify for a position in God's future government on earth. We must prove our loyalty to God in every aspect of our lives NOW! God must know we will remain loyal to Him for eternity. He will not have any potential adversaries in His family, so we must prove HERE and NOW that we will never follow the path Satan took! For only the absolutely LOYAL will qualify for rewards in the Kingdom of God.
   Remember, God is loyal to us. He won't let us down. He promises that "a faithful [loyal] man shall abound with blessings" (Prov. 28:20). So be loyal and you will inherit those blessings!

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Good News MagazineJuly 1972Vol XXI, No. 4