Knighthood, evolving originally out of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne of the Middle Ages, serves today as a noble illustration of servanthood, generosity, courtesy, compassion, and most importantly loyalty. Around age 6 or 7 a lad would be sent away to train and serve on the long arduous path toward knighthood. He would learn basic hunting, valuable battle skills, the caring and riding of horses, and so on. In war, the chivalrous knight was idealized as brave in battle and loyal to his king and God, and willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
Loyalty is that rare quality of putting principle and the good of others ahead of oneself. It has to do with allegiance, devotion and faithfulness to another. These are qualities not easily found in our self-indulgent and individualistic world where our impish desires command center stage. Kings Solomon and David affirmed the rarity of loyalty in stating, Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?…Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. (Pro. 20:6; Psa. 12:1) Yet, remarkable examples of loyalty and faithfulness can be found in the Scriptures:
- Both God and Christ are referred to in Scriptures as faithful. God: The Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deu. 7:9) Christ: He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. (Heb. 2:17)
- Ruth exhibited loyalty to Naomi amidst the most trying of circumstances. Said she, Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (Rut. 1:16)
- Jonathans armor-bearer, who at great risk to his life expressed his unyielding loyalty: "Do all that you have in mindGo ahead; I am with you heart and soul." (I Sam. 14:7)
- David remained loyal to King Saul by twice sparing his life, even as Saul was trying to destroy his. (I Sam. 24, 26)
- Davids men demonstrated loyalty by risking their lives to obtain a drink of water for their king. (2 Sam. 23:15-17)
- Paul experienced the satisfaction of faithful and loyal men. For example: Epaphroditus: My brother, fellow worker and fellow soldierwhom you sent to take care of my needs. (Phi. 2:25) Epaphras: Our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf. (Col. 1:7)
So tell me my friend in Christ, are you loyal to God? Loyal to your spouse? Loyal to those whom God has put under your charge? Loyal down to the very center of your being? That is, are you holding the line on truth, integrity, and fidelity when so many around you are slopping along, cutting corners here and there, and hedging on the truth when it is to their advantage to do so?
In Hamlet, William Shakespeare penned these immortal words, This above all: To thine own self be true, for it must follow as dost the night the day, that canst not then be false to any man.