As my bald head freezes due to the crazy temperature drop here in Texas today I find myself being a little nostalgic. I am beginning to wonder if the concept of loyalty exists in today’s culture or if “the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” principle will now forever be the mantra of our YOLO society. Whether we verbalize the hip term YOLO, we have embraced a mindset that says I am number one and I will make my life about me. If I want to take a risk… I will, if I am not comfortable… I will bail, if I can heap more riches upon myself… I will chase it, and if there is something I deem better… I will grab it. You only live once so do what you want and look out for the only person that matters. You. So many institutions of our society are affected by this chasing of comfort, money, adventure, risk, reward and self indulgent newness: Church, Sports, Marriage, and the work place.
Call me an idealist but I remember when people valued loyalty above self indulgence. If I am transparent I even see this value of comfort over loyalty in myself. It is so easy when times get tough to run. It is so easy when more money is extended to take it and run somehow hoping it will give us more joy. It is easy to look at another person’s situation and wish ourselves into their place thinking that in that we would find more joy. It is easy to look at life as taking risk after risk because your only purpose is trying to find the high that newness brings.
BUT I remember the days…
* When people dedicated themselves to one company and worked there until they retired. I know today’s economy does not always allow this, but loyalty chooses to endure even when present seems cloudy.
* When people made the covenant of marriage and truly intended to for better or worse stay loyal to this person they had pledge their life to before God.
* When people would commit themselves to one church (not picking and choosing the best flavors of 2-5 churches) and resolved to walk with that church in times of harvest and despair. Loyalty says as long as the Gospel is central, my feet are planted here and use my talent’s for the worship and glory of God and the benefit of the local body of Christ.
* When athletes played their whole career with one team and did not choose money over being loyal to the owner who first gave them a chance. Gone are the days of guys who value team loyalty over free agent gain. I know this one goes both ways with GM’s choosing to not give players extensions (i.e. Michael Young traded to Philly), but I miss the Cal Ripken, Craig Biggio one team for a career scenarios.
Again, sue me for idealism but we must remember it is in the seasons of discomfort that we grow more than ever. It is in the seasons of trial that we learn to lean on God. Loyalty teaches us that problems are not permanent and shows us the blessing of learning to overcome conflict. Every long term relationship brings with it conflict. Loyalty stands tall in conflict and seeks resolution for the better of both the institution and the person, but self indulgence runs for greener pastures when times get uncomfortable. How do I know this? I am guilty of being a runner and if you are honest maybe you have been too.
Let’s recapture the concept of loyalty. Loyalty is synonymous with the words allegiance, fidelity, faithfulness and devotion. What have you been loyal to? Your selfish desires? The chase for greener pastures? More than any organization I hope you know the biggest loyalty you must possess is a devotion to Jesus. Dig in, stand up, stay strong, refuse to let your mind wander in what ifs and greener pastures. Be willing to stay true to what matters and not chase selfish desires.
I totally agree Darrell. YOLO mentality, sadly, is nothing new. However, it celebrated and has become embedded into the fabric of our generation. I feel my generation is that way and has corrupted others to believe in “I” instead of investing in others and ultimately investing in others like Christ invested in people in scripture. Thanks for the challenge this blog entry offers.
Zach. Thanks for reading. While I do not feel loyalty has died, I do feel like it is valued far less than in previous generations. I agree with you as well that we can never have a heart for people when self indulgence is our first priority.