This is a really important question.
So many of us from the older generation can quickly respond and say we will always be loyal – that is what we are trained and designed to be and do.
The younger generation seems to always hold leadership in accountability and if you do not measure up – loyalty is lost to the new guy.
That seems to be the case these days with Blackberry and Apple. Blackberry’s problems started when they couldn’t deliver as they promised. That broken promise and their inability to speak into that lost the loyalty of thousands of customers to another brand product that had been keeping their promise.
You will notice that while the older generation will still do their grocery shopping at their most favorite grocer, the younger generation has no problem shopping at all of them – for the best deal, price and quality. There might be a different grocer that can deliver on each of these separately and if they should lose their trust, off they go finding another grocer that can deliver. So it is common to hear of younger families shopping at three different grocers as opposed to just one.
Then there is myself and others in ministry that get really confused on this issue. Your leader is messing up, he is leaving God and prayer out of the equation and is running the ministry like a secular business. God has become outdated in business practice and making money is determined by the wise business decisions of those employed. Yet if God called you there to serve, how does He call you out or how does He call you somewhere else? So at times it feels like the dysfunctional structure is swallowing you alive and yet you feel too guilty to leave?
What about all of us in our church lives? How often do the older generation stick with their one church and never leave, and I mean never leave. Their children leave and are no longer following God because of their relationship with the church, but the parents will not leave. Why? Blind loyalty and a built-in mechanism that says that one should be loyal unto death.
So, when do we stop being loyal?
First of all, I come with only one rule on this issue – I am loyal to my Saviour, and Lord, Jesus Christ - and to no one else.
He calls me to and away from on many occasions. The Holy Spirit calls people who are required at a certain time, at a certain place, for a certain task, for a set amount of time for an important job to be done. God chose a person to do it and the Spirit gave that person the needed power and ability.
Secondly, that loyalty comes as a servant of the most high God. Everything I own comes from Him and I am privileged to be a steward of such amazing gifts. My family and I need to be part of the family of God. We want to be around people who believe that same thing – they desire to see God’s will done, they are experienced in hearing and following those whose reputations have them laying their lives for the cause of Christ. We are all drawn to those who know who they are in Christ and are brave, determined and faithful.
That makes me loyal to only two things on this earth – my wife and my children. So when my activity or the activities of our family in this journey of following Jesus are threatened in any way shape or form, I need to come before Him and ask for a plan of action. The action plan is rather simple – do I become part of the system and change it, influence it, guide it from within, or do I leave, needing to either grow in other areas, be developed in other gifts, become a leader myself in another situation.
Loyalty for the sake of loyalty is dysfunctional at best. It makes us convince others to die at this crossroad and keep them bound. The guilt put on us by others makes the choice of leaving almost impossible. The fear of the future and of change makes this a great excuse to stay put. The desire to please and rescue enable the dysfunction to continue. Loyalty can trumps God’s call, even when we see our family dying around us and our friends lives being messed up.
When you see your life dying on the inside and starting to show visible signs of that decay on the outside, think about what or who you are being loyal to and why. Even if it means a short recess away to get a better perspective, take the time to pray it through, spending more time with Jesus and getting a sense that maybe its time to stop being “loyal.”