Count on me!

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When I did a search of images related to ‘loyalty’ 9 out of 10 pictures were about dogs and people, not people with people. Yep, our dog is often more loyal than our friends!

When person sticks with us through sunshine and rain, through our failure and success, when we are fun and when we are miserable – it’s called loyal love. Loyalty goes beyond fidelity in the marital relationship, causing a spouse not only to honor their vows, but to seek the best for their partner at all times. Loyalty is a statement that the person is more important than the product, of a connection that goes beyond some shared interest.  It is a gift in life that is as precious and rare as a gem.

In a beautiful story in the Bible we come on a pledge of loyalty. Ruth was a Gentile married to a Jewish man who had left Israel because of hardship. He died, as did his father and brother, while they were living in Moab. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, bereft of support and in grief, decides to return to Israel. She tells her daughters-in-law to remain in their own country, among their own people. Ruth chooses to go with her making this amazing statement – “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. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17, NIV)

A Gentile who lived among the Jews did not have an easy time of it. They were outsiders, unable to participate in much of the community life, because what bound the Jewish nation was not just political aims or economic interests. They were the ‘people of God,’ defined by how they served and worshiped Yahweh, the Living God.  Ruth, who apparently converted, was willing to endure living on the fringe of society because of her loyalty to Naomi.

Do you have loyal friends in your life?
Are you a loyal friend, valuing a relationship for more than its functional value?

Loyalty will make us honest, authentic, open, and trustworthy.
It does not blind us to the faults of our friend, but it causes us to love them enough to encourage change.
It takes us past superficiality and makes us real, able to know and be known in depth. It removes the need to keep some parts of ourselves hidden away in fear because we know we are fully accepting and accepted.

Loyalty is more than a few nice words. It says “Lean on me, I’m on your side!”

There are examples of loyal love scattered through the Bible’s stories.

David and Jonathan knew a loyalty that sustained their relationship through the tempests of Saul’s insane jealousy, causing David to care for Jonathan’s family even after his death in battle.

Paul knew the loyalty of Dr. Luke (he called him the ‘beloved physician’)  and Timothy as well as the disappointment of some who abandoned him when life was hard. We can hear his heartbreak in the lament “Demas has forsaken me, loving this present world.” (2 Timothy 4.10)

Jesus experienced the sorrow of disloyalty when the disciples ran off into the night when He was arrested and when Peter, valuing his own safety more than his Friend, swore that “I never even knew the Man.”

If we want to know the best experience of discipleship, the highest kind of Christian life, we will learn to be loyal – sticking with our commitment to others. It is part of that love that the Spirit desires to create in the Church, a commitment to one another that makes us part of one Body, esteeming our connection over our convenience.

Our loyal love is modeled on God’s love for us which is – LOYAL! He doesn’t abandon us when we tire Him. He seeks our best when we are difficult. He seeks our best though we can add nothing to Him in His self-sufficiency.

Take Ruth’s words with you today.
“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back.
I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live.
Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
I will die where you die and will be buried there.
May the Lord punish me severely
if I allow anything but death to separate us!” (Ruth 1:16-17, NLT)

Lord, teach us the joy of loyal love. Amen.

__________

Loyal

(sung by Lauren Daigle)

I could never earn Your heart
I could never reach that far
But You have pulled me close
You’ll never let me go
I’m safe forever in Your arms
Your promises I cannot break
And I know You will never change

Your love is Your love is
Your love is loyal
Your love is Your love is
Your love is loyal
More faithful than the rising sun
This grace for me I can’t outrun
Your love is Your love is
Your love is loyal

You are always there for me
You listen every time I speak
You look into my eyes
See the things I hide
And say that You will never leave
Your promises I cannot break
And I know You will never change

When my world shakes
Your love remains unshaken
So constant so perfect unwavering
When my world falls
Your love remains unfailing
So constant so perfect unwavering

Jason Ingram | Jonas Myrin | Lauren Daigle | Paul Mabury
© 2015 Atlas Mountain Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CentricSongs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

CCLI License # 810055

 

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

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