Proverbs 20:6 “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath not temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
There is no doubt at all that the most important ingredient in the life of a follower or leader is the ingredient of loyalty. More churches have been split, more businesses have lost profits and more homes have been shattered because the ingredient of loyalty was missing. Loyalty is the “universal ingredient” for all success. There is no substitute or alternative; if there is success, I will be able to show you loyalty.
Since loyalty is so important, we should probably understand what it is so we can have it. Do you realize that the word “loyal” is not found in the Bible? The word may not be there, but its principles are taught from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Let’s take a closer look at what loyalty is so we can have more of it in our lives and be more successful.
1. Loyalty Defined
Webster’s Dictionary says: loyal (loy`al) 1. Faithful to a commitment or obligation 2. Faithful adherence to a sovereign, government cause, ect….
The Bible may not use the word “loyal” but all that loyalty is includes faithfulness. We know that God teaches us all the way through the Bible about faithfulness. We could say that faithful and loyal are virtually the same thing.
2. Loyalty Is Based On A Truth Or Principle, Not A Person.
You are only as loyal as you are obedient to principles and truths. People are constantly changing. Truth is truth and does not ever change, whether people do or not. Loyalty that is based on a human will change as the human changes.
Loyalty that is based on a human is only as good as the two human sinners involved. If you do not believe me, let’s go back to the first two people in the chapter three, they not only were unfaithful to God by not showing up for their daily walk, but they became unfaithful to each other. Adam looked at God and blamed Eve, then blamed God for even giving Eve to him.
All humans are sinners and this should not shock us. Because we are all sinners, we are all in a process of dying; therefore loyalty based on another sinner will die or go down a process of death as the two sinners do.
Truth does not change. Two plus two always equals four. This never changes. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This never changes. The King James Bible is God’s perfect Word, and it does not change. My friend, loyalty that is based on a truth or principle will demand that you be loyal to the right people.
A husband or wife who will love according to God’s will will never be disloyal to their spouse. An employee who is loyal to the rules of the company or the boss will never be disloyal. A student who follows the rules of the classroom and school will never be disloyal. The loyalty based on a truth or principle will endure the emotionally tough times. The stresses of life in child rearing do not split marriages. Disloyalty does! The pressure of deadlines at work does not create problems. Disloyalty does! The disobedient student does not cause trouble in the classroom or school. Disloyalty does! The things a pastor says or does do not create friction in a church. Disloyalty does! You see, loyalty in all these situations can endure the emotional stresses.
3. Loyalty Starts At The Leader And It Works Down; It Is Not Just To Go From The Follower Up.
Notice 1 Corinthians 10:13, “…God is faithful…” God was telling us that He will be loyal to us no matter if we are loyal to Him. I know no better way to say this than none of us are as close to the top as God is. If He can be faithful to those of us who are disloyal sinners, should not we be faithful to Him and each other? If a holy, sinless God can be loyal to sinful, disloyal people shouldn’t we be loyal to each other and to God?
Loyalty always starts from the leader. A leader who wants loyal followers must be loyal himself. A leader who is loyal to principles is less likely to have disloyal followers. Notice I did not say that he would never have disloyal followers, but he is going to have fewer disloyal followers than a disloyal leader. A leader who is loyal to principles will lead in such a way that loyalty will no only be expected, but attractive to the followers.
Every leader desires to have loyal followers. Every parent wants children who are loyal to them. Every employer wants loyal employees. Every pastor wants church members who are loyal. Every teacher wants pupils who are loyal. I am convinced that any leader who is loyal will build loyal followers around him.
I have been around and worked with some of the greatest leaders in the last fifty years. I have watched and studied them to know that the leaders with loyal followers are the leaders who are more likely to be loyal to the followers than those who are not. Once again, I believe the follower should be loyal if the leader is loyal or not.
Loyalty demands that a follower be loyal, but leaders who are loyal will have and build around them a loyal following second to none. We live in a brutal and selfish world; a world that emphasizes personal success above all else. I want to be loyal to those who are my leaders, but I also want to be loyal to my followers.
4. Loyalty Has The Wisdom To Look At A Whole Life Or Situation, Not Just Focus On One Part Of Life Or Situation To Make A Decision.
Loyalty does not look at one bad situation in life and say that life has been a total waste. Loyalty does not look at one bad grade and say to the student that he is a failure. Loyalty does not look at one bad business deal and decide to shut down the business. Loyalty looks at the whole life or situation before making a decision.
Let me explain by an event in my ministry. It was my privilege to work for Dr. Jack Hyles as an assistant pastor. I was only twenty-nine years old when I began working for him. After I had been working for him for about a year, I made a mistake. (I had made many, but this was a big one.) I had traveled back to help in a funeral for a family in a church in which I used to work. The family had asked me, not the pastor, to come participate. I did go and sensed some tension between my former pastor and me.
When I arrived home, I went back to Brother Hyles, and I told him all the details and told him I felt I may have dome something wrong. He told me I had been unethical to my former pastor. I was crushed. I had never intended to be unethical; I just wanted to show my love for that family. Brother Hyles helped me right the wrong that I had done and did not label the rest of my ministry because of it. A few short weeks later, he gave me more duties to show his trust in me. I was so glad Brother Hyles did not label my whole life because of one bad decision.
5. Loyalty Can Be Faithful To More Than One Leader Or Follower At A Time.
May I share on of the most beautiful truths about loyalty? Loyalty can be shared or given to more than one person at a time. I have three wonderful children that God has given to my wife and me. Did you know I can love each one and be loyal to my wife and children at the same time? Did you know that I can be loyal to my parents and my wife’s parents and my wife and my children all at the same time? Loyalty is not for one person only.
Let me use a sweet story to illustrate this wonderful truth. Dr. Don Smith was the pastor of the Shenandoah Bible Baptist Church for thirty-five years before he retired. Dr. Jeff Owens took the pastorate, and I came to work with Dr. Owens. Dr. Smith and his sweet wife stayed members in the church. This is not usually a good idea, but it has been great for our church.
Dr. Owens did not ask the people who called him to pastor to stop their loyalty for Dr. Smith in fact, he helped promote loyalty to Dr. Smith. Dr. and Mrs. Smith spent thirty-five years to help us have the work we have here today. Our people love Dr. and Mrs. Smith, but they realize Dr. Owens is their pastor. Dr. and Mrs. Smith have allowed Dr. Owens to pastor them and their loyalty to him has completed the loyalty. This is a loyalty based on principle and because it is, it can be shared with more than one person.
I wonder how many marriages struggle because a set of over possessive parents will not allow their children to be loyal to their new spouse and to them. I wonder how many businesses lose production and profits because one leader leaves and a new one is added and the employees do not want to follow. I wonder how many students struggle in a classroom and with their education because their new teacher is not like the one that they had before. I wonder how many churches are cold, unfriendly and cliquey because they do not want to follow the new pastor.
When I was a seventeen years old, my home church had a very ugly split. My pastor left the area and we had to start a new church. I watched three pastors over the next eight years try to pastor that church. I knew it was destined for destruction because no one was “like the old pastor”. In less than ten years, the church dissolved and people will die and go to Hell because people could not figure out how to be loyal to more than one. Loyalty is the most important quality of any follower. As we combine the ingredient of success for all of life, make sure we do not miss the
foundational ingredient of loyalty.
Pastor Craig Bush
Grace Baptist | Martinsburg, WV
Excerpt from his book Follow the Leader