28 July – 3 August 2019.
During a recent series of interviews I did with Taiwanese business leaders, I was surprised to find that so many CEOs had exactly the same complaint. One of the biggest problems in Taiwan’s workplaces, they told me, was a lack of company loyalty among employees. These high-level business leaders spoke about how great things are in Japan where employees are so loyal and stay with a company for decades. They were upset that Taiwanese workers swap so quickly between different jobs. They wanted workers to be loyal to their bosses, loyal to their company, and really devote themselves to the business.
This was an interesting insight for me, because this is also an issue we have in our faith lives. In the church we also talk about the importance of loyalty, but we use a different word: “faithfulness”. When we hear people mention faithfulness, we immediately think of us being faithful to God. While that’s good, the biblical view on faithfulness or loyalty is actually a little different. Out in society it is the people at the top – CEOs, social leaders, and politicians – who demand loyalty from the smaller people below them. But in our faith lives this situation is reversed. Even though God is so much greater and so much higher than any of us, it is God who promises to be faithful and loyal to us.
The Bible repeats this message of good news over and over again, with one of the greatest examples being Psalm 118. The heart of this psalm is the repeated praise: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” And that’s really a wonderful thing. In a world where loyalty and faithfulness can often be lacking, where loyalty is more often demanded than offered, the psalm writer praises God for always being faithful to us, always being loyal to us, always being ready to stand by us and help us when we are in need. Whether the problems we face come from the general despair and worries of life (vv. 5–9), whether it’s the overwhelming violence of war (vv. 10–16), or even the ultimate fear of death itself (vv. 17–18), God’s loyalty to us will never fail or end. Other people’s loyalty is uncertain – they may toss us aside, reject us, and even abandon us. But the good news is that God holds onto us always. In his eyes each one of us is too important to leave behind (v. 22–23).
Knowing this good news, the psalm writer breaks out into incredible praises to God. And what more can we do than to join him, repeating this good news: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever!”
Pastor Stephen Lakkis