Growing up all I practically did was play soccer. I started playing recreation soccer at a very young age. Actually, it’s really not soccer. It’s 20 kids, 10 from one team and 10 from the other, all huddled up around a ball. The pack of kids and the ball move around the field like some living organism and sometimes the ball pops out and goes in the goal. Once I matured in age and skill I started playing club soccer, which is cool kid lingo for “travel soccer”.
Practices happened almost every day and tournaments all most every weekend. One of the things that I loved most about club soccer was once you made a team, and if you continued to improve, you and your teammates just moved up together as you got older. So these teammates became my closest friends.
My club decided to play a tournament one weekend in the spring. We practice every day the week before the big weekend. Monday and Tuesday were hard practices with conditioning and foot work drills. Wednesday we implemented our formation that we were going to be running during the tournament. We would then scrimmage with an older team to practice it and sharpen this formation. Thursday we may put in some specific set plays for free kicks or throw-ins. Then Friday was a light practice with just easy ball work, some shooting, and good stretching.
When we arrived at this tournament we immediately spotted another team that we played several times. They didn’t like us, and we didn’t like them. We knew it, they knew it and everyone else knew it too. We were on one side of the bracket and they were on the other side, so we both knew that we would not face each other unless we made it to the championship game on Sunday afternoon. We fought hard that tournament and made it to the championship game where, unfortunately, we would face the team we hated.
The ball was walked out to center of the field and placed in their possession. The referee blew the whistle and from then till the last whistle it was a physical game that left many bruises and sore muscles. It was late in the second half and the score was tied 1-1, and the other team had a “give and go” pass that resulted in their striker getting free. As he was sprinting and dribbling the ball to take a shot, our goalie took a gamble and started running at him in an effort to stop him from scoring. The striker tried to lightly chip the ball over our goalie to create a wide-open shot, while our goalie was sliding as big as he could to prevent this from happening. At that moment they collided. The ball hit the chest of our goalie and his arms took out the legs of the opposing striker. He was shot high in the air flipping and landed on his back.
As fast as that play happened, each team ran to defend their player. We all collided and started shoving and yelling at one another. The referees, coaches, and some parents ran onto the field to break up the brawl. What blows me away is each team member rushed to stand up for their player. We were loyal to each other on and off the field and especially when one of us was threatened.
Loyalty is defined as “the act of giving or showing frim and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.” In today’s culture loyalty is lost. We are always changing and adapting. When we lose interest, we don’t stick it out we just leave. We have become experts at nothing because we are constantly changing what we are doing. I was scrolling through twitter (this is a shameless plug for you to follow me on Twitter: @jlcabit) one day, and I read Grant Skeldon’s (you should follow him too @grantskeldon) tweet, who is the founder of Initiative (you should follow their page as well @initiative_net), which said, “The average millennial is on trajectory to have 14 jobs by the time they’re 40. We are never going to make an impact if we’re always starting over.” This is so true! How can we make an impact if we are not loyal to our jobs, families, communities, churches, and most of all Jesus Christ! Making an impact always comes out of loyalty.
Every officer in the Israelite army had an assistant and they were known as armor bearers. These men were usually young and would carry the armor and weapons of the officer. “Armor-bearers in ancient times had to be unusually brave and loyal, since the lives of their masters often depended on them.” Jonathan was the son of the king of Israel and at this time Israel has been trapped by the Philistines in a valley. He had a friend, an armor bearer, who went with him everywhere. Jonathan decided to go and fight some of the Philistines by himself and the armor bearer responses with, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.”
Whether this idea was good or bad, the armor bearer was going to go with him and fight with him. He was loyal to Jonathan, even to possible death. Loyalty like this is not seen anymore! My question to myself and to you is: Are you loyal? The loyalty that the armor bearer had for Jonathan is the same loyalty that we should have to Jesus Christ. We must grow in our loyalty because Jesus Christ was and is loyal to us! With loyalty like this we will make an impact; an impact that will last for eternity!
 Ronald F. Youngblood
 1 Samuel 14:7 ESV