Am I My Brother’s Keeper?
This is the first question by man that was recorded in the bible. (Gen 4:9) Unfortunately, it was Cain responding to God after he killed his brother Abel. From that moment on, we have been become a people who seek to fulfill our wants and needs. Even when we naturally love, it’s centered around how it makes us feel. Fortunately the vast majority of us do not have to answer to God in relation to murdering a brother/sister, etc. (In reference to Cain) But, we do have to answer to God about baring one another’s needs or burdens.
In the Western nations and various others, the access to wealth is plentiful. Our society has produced a nation of consumers, hard workers? (Indeed for the most part). This gives us moral or ethical justification to claim a worldly kingdom life style. We strive to obtain and maintain this so called social economic status. And we are effectively passing it on to the next generation. With such abundance of accumulated wealth, we have been in a position to give. Many are emotionally moved by the images on the internet or on the television showing the impact of an area devastated by natural disasters or war torn regions. Sending ten dollars gives us a sense of connection and confirms to our conscience that we are overall good hearted citizens of the world. Supporting these such causes, should not be taken for granted, but for the most part, it’s a knee jerk reaction that shows little, if no follow through after the images are no longer planted in our minds. Christians today have either adopted this worldly support standard or they possessed this character prior to their blessed conversion.
Many attend church religiously. Some church facilities rival some of our cities best building structures, shamefully in or near poor neighborhoods. A lot of the teaching in today’s church place great emphasis in living prosperously. This pseudo blessing is acutely self indulging. While many bask in this upgraded phenomenon, millions around us becomes the invisible people. Don’t get me wrong, we see them, but usually as a burden or as a community misfit. We do not actually call them that, but our selfish drive can’t relate to their struggle to gain or regain one-self. But again, are we actually our brother’s keeper? Some think that poverty or impoverishment is a life choice. Some feel a tug in their heart, but do not take action other than the thought of “Go in peace” Studies show that professed Christians anchor this same belief. Many Christians think that God ordains such misfortune…… “Let’s see.”
James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
1 John 3:17 “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”
(Now we truly know what God says.)
So the answer is, we are our brother’s keeper. We should have a heart of meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we give as God gives us, then, we will give abundantly, freely and joyfully. When we do this, the brother or sister who receives this gift from God through us, will know that it was from Him and glorify Him. Pray that God will give you a heart and mind to give. Be vigilant. Ask an elder in the church about a person or family that needs help. It could be paying a monthly bill for them, buying them grocery, clothes, furniture and many other needs. The needs are and will always be amongst us. There are other avenues of helping others via websites, such as Craigslist (Wanted section) or drive around to a less fortunately area of your city and offer to pay for someone’s grocery, etc. But don’t forget about the brother and sister in Christ who are struggling immensely.
It is truly blessed to give than receive. Amen