Hidesaburo Ueno, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo in 1924, wanted a dog for companionship. After looking at some dogs, he chose an Akita born on a farm near the city of Odate whose name was Hachiko. The Japanese name was a combination of hachi, meaning “he was the eighth born in the litter” and ko, meaning “prince or duke.”
They bonded well together. Everyday Ueno would board a train for Tokyo and return at night from his job at the university. Each night, his faithful and loyal dog, Hachiko, would be waiting for him at the Shibuya Station. The pair continued this as a daily ritual until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. During the day, the professor suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where his friend waited patiently.
Hachiko was given to a loving family who cared deeply for the dog, but Hachiko routinely escaped, returning to his old home. Somehow eventually, Hachiko realized the professor never again would return to the house, so he went to the Shibuya train station where he and Professor Ueno went daily. There he positioned himself to watch for his owner to return.
Every day for the next nine years, Hachiko waited at the Shibuya station. He became such a fixture at the train station—and many of the commuters knew the story—that they began to bring treats and food to nourish him during his wait. On March 8, 1935, the body of Hachiko was found on a street in Shibuya, Japan. Eventually, Hachiko’s legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty.
Paul’s writing to the Philippians (
Loyalty Through Attitude (vv. 5-7)
The attitude or position of Jesus when He empties Himself to come to earth is His rank, privilege and rights as God. His attitude is that of a servant. As modern disciples, we are required to have that loyal attitude of servants.
I believe attitude is demonstrated by the inner peace or inner turmoil a person possesses. It has to do with the concern I have for myself and others as to what I achieve for the kingdom of God on earth and in the world to come. My attitude of servanthood is polished on the grindstone of caring. I also have the God-given ability to choose to be a servant or not.
Bruce Theilemann served as pastor of Pittsburgh’s First Presbyterian Church. He shared a conversation he had with one of his members several years ago. The parishioner said, “You preachers talk a lot about ‘do unto others,’ but when you get right down to it, it comes down to basin theology.”
Theilemann asked his friend, “What do you mean by basin theology?”
The layman responded, “Remember what Pilate did when he had the opportunity to acquit Jesus? He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing. Jesus, the night preceding His death, called for a basin of water and washed the feet of the disciples.” The layman continued, “Pastor, it really comes down to which basin you use—Pilate’s or Christ’s?”
Let our basin attitude be that of a servant!
Loyalty Through Humility (v. 8)
In order for us to be loyal servants, it comes through a humble heart. That simply means we give up the right to be in charge. Maxie Dunnam wrote that when we give up being in charge and humble ourselves before God (as Jesus did), “We experience freedom. We become available and vulnerable. We lose our fear of being stepped on, manipulated, taken advantage of…What joy comes, what energizing of life, when we act out of the desire to be a servant, rather than the pride of choosing to serve now and then, when and where and whom we wish.”
Humility strips us of self-aggrandizing pride. It insists on God’s way; it desires the power and presence of God; it values the good of others. This is what Christ came to demonstrate—what true greatness is all about. W.E. Bryce said, “Humility as a sovereign grace is the creation of Christianity.”
Loyalty Through Obedience (v. 8)
Obedience is my faith in action. It is the surrender of life to a higher power than self; to the Christian, that higher power is Christ. It ushers in our understanding that there is existence to life with meaning and purpose. I abandon my desires for the desires of God and work at carrying out those God-given desires.
E.B. Bagby said he remembered seeing somewhere, “Don’ts for machinists.” He said he had forgotten all of them except one: “Don’t argue with your boss.” It is a good rule for every shop and office. It is a good rule in our walk with God!
The crowds of Palm Sunday gathered to cheer and praise Jesus. The people waved Palm branches and shouted that He’s the Son of God. Many in that crowd a few days later jeered Jesus and called for His crucifixion. Their loyalty faded fast. How is your loyalty? I hope it is as determined as Hachiko’s and not the fickle crowd of Palm Sunday.