A Baptist was marooned, alone, on an uncharted island. He lived there for several years before a passing ship happened to see his fire one night and changed course to investigate. When some of the crew made their way by boat to the island, they found the man and three huts that he had built. They asked him, “What are these three huts?” He answered, “One is where I live, and one is where I go to church.” When they asked him what the third hut was, he said, “Oh, that one, that’s where I used to go to church.”
I’d love to tell you that this story is completely absurd, but the fact is, it hits a little too close to home for comfort. Church splits are far too common in the Christian realm, and members who leave one church and join another one right down the road are even more common. Actually, a large percentage of “church growth” these days isn’t so much from evangelism as it is from “church swapping.”
Some of this has to do with the fact that loyalty has become a scarce commodity in our world. College basketball is now providing us with a prime example of this. Since the current rules for professional (NBA) basketball require a player to attend at least one year of college before he can be drafted by an NBA team, the college ranks have become dominated by “one and done” star players.
A “one and done” player is a kid who would rather jump straight to the pros right out of high school, but by rule he has to put in a year of college before an NBA team can draft him. So, he commits to some college team for a freshman season, does enough schoolwork to keep him eligible to play, and then immediately declares for the NBA draft as soon as the season concludes. Why bother to get a degree so that you can earn a good salary when an NBA team stands ready to give you millions of dollars just to play basketball?
What’s interesting, though, is what the “one and done” trend has done to college coaches. It’s made hypocrites of them. Remember, these are the same guys who love to give rousing, passionate speeches about showing loyalty to them, working hard to earn playing time, and letting them mold you into not only a quality player but also a quality person. Then these same coaches bench seniors and juniors (who’ve done everything the coaches have ever asked of them) and make starters of freshmen who won’t even be part of the team next season. In other words, the coaches demand loyalty and then show none.
But it’s not just church circles or athletic ranks that are vacant of loyalty these days. In regards to satellite companies, cable companies, internet companies, and cell phone companies, who do these companies offer their best deals on programming packages? Do they offer them to the customers who have been with them for years? Nope. It’s the new customers who just signed up who get the great introductory deals. Rewarding longtime customers who’ve faithfully paid their bills for years? What a strange concept.
I’m so glad that God still knows what loyalty means and that He remains faithful to His people even when we don’t remain faithful to Him. That’s why I’d like to close this post by citing 1 Corinthians 1:9. Christian, after you’ve read the verse, take a moment to thank God for being such a God. After all, if He was like a lot of church goers, coaches, or companies, He’d have left us by the side of the road a long time ago and embraced someone new.
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9, N.K.J.V.)