I hope in the Lord to send Timothy to you soon…
For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.
I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus…
So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,
for he nearly died for the work of Christ,
risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.
Philippians 2:19-20; 25; 29; 30
Loyalty is generally defined as devotion and faithfulness to commitments to a cause, country, group, or person. However, philosophers disagree and argue that loyalty is strictly interpersonal and only another human being can be the object of loyalty.
We know from this passage that Timothy and Epaphroditus clearly demonstrated their loyalty to the person of Paul, the great apostle of the early church. They deeply impacted his life by meeting his needs for understanding and presence—and they were both memorialized in Scripture for it.
Timothy gave Paul the gift of understanding—and he did it in such a unique manner that Paul can compare him to no other. What did Timothy do that impacted Paul so deeply? He was genuinely devoted to Paul. In other words, he demonstrated loyalty.
Epaphroditus gave Paul the gift of presence—and he did it under the direst of circumstances because he nearly died in fulfilling his obligations. What did Epaphroditus do that impacted Paul so deeply? He was faithful to his commitment despite his own possible demise. In other words, he demonstrated loyalty.
If loyalty is not at the top of your priority list of character traits—is it time for a resurgence? Remember the famous words from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address? “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Perhaps for us today, we can benefit from reframing Kennedy’s message by making it interpersonal. When you want to demonstrate loyalty, ask not what others can do for you; but instead become a rapt listener and show up no matter what!