Today is a good day to talk about loyalty! But, I will get to that in a minute.
Yesterday, I was reading a motorcycle magazine and a T-shirt ad jumped out at me. Black lettering is arranged in a block on the front of the shirt that reads, “You are not stuck in traffic! You ARE traffic!”
Also present is a red line that weaves through the lettering. If you ride motorcycles, you understand that the T-shirt is referencing lane splitting.
I have no idea under the sun why the Aerostich Company created such a shirt in the first place or why they thought it would be great to sell a shirt that promotes lane splitting. Lane splitting is not legal in most states and it is one of the most dangerous things a rider can do!
To split a lane means that a motorcycle shares the very same lane as a car and it is legal to ride parallel, even if there is a traffic jam and all cars are stopped. Anybody can see multiple flies in this ointment.
For example, if a long lane of cars is stopped and a rider decides to split a lane to get to the head of the line, all that is needed for a total disaster is for someone to open a car door to look at the trouble ahead. At this point the motorcycle rider becomes the bug on the windshield.
So, what does this have to do with loyalty? I am glad you asked.
Lane splitting puts me and my wants and needs before others. It sort of makes the statement that things I am loyal to are more important than other’s issues.
The world at large seems to have enough trouble as it is putting self before others. And, this brings me to Judas and a Proverb.
Judas was a mess. We are told that he was a member of a political party of his day referred to as the Zealots.
Zealots felt that Jesus was the true Messiah as promised and advertised in Scripture but he was not behaving right! The true Messiah would ride in on that proverbial white horse as a knight wearing shining armor and would clean house!
But…this guy Jesus was holding back! What’s the matter with him!
The reasoning was that if he was shoved, then he would call down all the resources of the heavenly kingdom and through the wrath of God, straighten this whole mess out down here on earth.
But, you and I have the benefit of a rearview mirror and we know that Jesus stated firmly, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place (John 18:36 NIV).”
(And, if you want to read a very humbling, haunting and remorseful passage, check this out: “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (John 1:9-11 NIV).”
So, back to Judas…one theory about his betrayal of Christ was that if he was painted into a corner, he’d act right! But, you and I know the rest of that story.
Human nature killed Jesus! Divided loyalties killed Jesus!
And, now for that Proverb that I promised: “The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24 AMP).”
Imagine…imagine if Judas had had a united vision with his other eleven disciples. Well…we can only imagine.
It sort of reminds me of a song that John Denver put out in the late winter of his career that nobody knows about. The title is Two Different Directions.
The song does not sing of the usual fare of unrequieted love but of the dissolution of a marriage. (I kind of think maybe he was singing about himself and the breakup of his first marriage with wife Annie.)
They say they love each other, I’ve no doubt they do.
They say they’ll always be together, that may not be true.
They come from different places, different points of view.
They find themselves in different spaces, everything is all brand new.
Two different directions, too many different ways.
One always on the road somewhere, the other one always stays…
The song has a catchy tune if you want to hear it:
(Two Different Directions, John Denver. Windstar Productions, 1991.)
And, if a church is not very careful it can certainly find itself heading in more than two different directions. It’s always the best course to share a untied vision of living for the Father’s cause.
That’ll about sum things up! Just some thoughts on a Thursday!