They were just a bunch of street kids. Boys on skateboards. The townsfolk looked upon them as troublemakers. But most were good young men, good students, if not a little rough around their growing edges. Really, they just wanted to skate.
They were part of a skate club we had at church during the summer months. Give them a set of wheels – skateboards, BMX bikes, inlines, even razor scooters – and they were happy. We also gave them the Word.
During one Bible study session, I asked the boys their opinion of the most important characteristic of manhood. Typical answers were given: honesty, strength, hairy chests, etc. But one small fellow uttered one word that stopped the discussion in its tracks: loyalty.
I would have said integrity and indeed, loyalty is a defining characteristic of that. But to think that a skateboarder would come up with “loyalty,” well, I wouldn’t have thought it at all, and I knew these guys better than anyone.
You can be loyal to many things: family, work, peers in your skate club. In reality, this is where the Bible study discussion landed, that is, being loyal to your group. The boys were eager to gauge their coming of age-ness to the degree of loyalty they had to each other.
Benaiah was one such guy. King David saw something special in this young man and a cursory reading of his Scriptural resume reveals a theme of loyalty – not only to King David but to the next king as well, King Solomon.
The Bible defines him as the son of a priest, a lion tamer (okay, a lion killer), a valiant warrior, a champion, a hero, and a leader (II Samuel 23:20-23). But it’s over in I Kings 1 & 2 where we learn that this guy is really loyal. It was his duty to be loyal. When Kings David and Solomon gave him an order, he fulfilled it without question, all the way up to eliminating one of the most powerful, most influential, if not most corrupt and dangerous soldier-leaders of the day: Joab (I Kings 2:28-34).
Benaiah was fearless, just, righteous, and trustworthy. He learned these things from men like King David, King Solomon, Prophet Nathan, Pastor Zadok, and father Jehoiada. These were men of his day who were worthy mentors for future leaders: men after God’s own heart, wise men, men of truth, men of God, and shrewd dads.
When one chooses to be loyal to men like these, greatness becomes him.