Before you read the passage think about where your loyalties lie. Who are you most loyal to and who is most loyal to you? Have you ever been disloyal?
You can read the passage in ‘The Message’ translation below. If you prefer the translation we usually use (NIV) then the link is:
2 Timothy 1:15-2:7
15-18 I’m sure you know by now that everyone in the province of Asia deserted me, even Phygelus and Hermogenes. But God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many’s the time I’ve been refreshed in that house. And he wasn’t embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. And then there was all the help he provided in Ephesus—but you know that better than I.
2 1-7 So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain.
Typical Paul. Having been let down by the Christian community in Asia, he immediately turns to thanking one of the few who stayed loyal and prays for him and his family. And then he explains to Timothy that the only way to handle disloyalty is to ‘take it on the chin like Jesus did’.
Loyalty Counts Every Day
We are to go about our daily tasks with a fierce loyalty to the task in hand and those in authority, whether at home, at school, on the sports field, at work or in our church community. For many in the Armed Forces, this loyalty means putting their lives on the line for their colleagues, unit, regiment, ship and ultimately for Queen and Country. In some parts of the world Christians put their lives on the line every day for their faith in Jesus as the true Son of God.
Loyalty Works Both Ways
At the end of this passage, Paul reminds Timothy that God is loyal and ‘will make it all plain’. The remarkable truth about Christianity is that a Holy God is intimately concerned with you and I and will make his will known if only we are willing to listen. His loyalty to us is rock solid.
A C T I O N S
Thank God for his loyalty to you and ask him to help you be loyal to your friends, family, teachers, work colleagues and church leaders. Think of a couple of things you could do better today, even just a simple thank you those who love and cherish you. And if you are aware of any disloyalty in your behaviour, then deal with it NOW!
Here is a prayer that I remember from my service in the Royal Navy; a long time ago now!
Almighty God, grant us your gift of loyalty. For our homes, give us love and obedience; for our country, sacrifice and service; for our Church, reverence and devotion; and in everything make us true to you; through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.