I just dropped Mom and Dad off.
Actually, I dropped them off about 6 hours ago - at 4:30 a.m. but I spent the first couple hours after that in a daze, so it kind of feels like I just dropped them off.
The girls wanted to get in their suitcases to go with them, but the suitcases were way too full.
I've been thinking about what I've learned the past several years working alongside Dad and Mom. Yesterday I mentioned I've been encouraged that it possible to be older, to have been in the ministry a long time and to still be humble.
I think I've also learned the value and blessing of true biblical loyalty in the ministry.
There are some people who are loyal in the sense that they just tell you what they want you to hear, which of course isn't biblical loyalty. And there are other people who are not loyal at all. (Solomon certainly was right when he said many people profess their loyalty, but a faithful friend who can find?)
I guess I understand that. After all, it's tough to be loyal. It would be easy to be loyal to someone if it only meant you needed to be committed to that person when they were doing the things you liked or when they don't make things difficult for you. But that's not loyalty.
Anybody can be loyal like that. And you know, a lot of people think they are loyal because they stick with people when the going is easy. But they are not loyal because they don't stick with people when things get hard.
It's tough to be loyal because loyalty requires dying to self. It means I'm going to do the hard thing and get in your face and tell you that you are wrong even though I would rather just let you go off and do your own thing and not have to get involved. On the other hand it means when you are doing wrong and it is making life difficult for me I am going to stick with you and I am going to be for you and I am not going to take the opportunity just to jump all over you with glee and joy because you are messing up when I perhaps am not.
I want to be a person like that for other Christians. I want to be a person that people know is one hundred percent for them. I want to be like that because I believe the gospel. I want to be like that because I believe God is for me even though I messed up so badly.
And you know I want to be like that because I've experienced the blessing of that kind of loyalty in my own life. I sometimes think you could get through almost anything in life, anything in the ministry, if you just have a friend who is biblically loyal. Now, obviously - no matter how alone we are, we always have one friend who is biblically loyal and that is Jesus Christ.
At the same time, it is good when God's people follow in his footsteps.
My wife has sought and is seeking to do that for me, and so have my parents. And you know what, though we've been through some difficult times they haven't been nearly as hard because God has graced me with people who like Jesus, are for me. There's hardly anything that brings greater joy than loyal friends.