As I was enjoying a peaceful evening, a text arrived from my daughter. My middle brother, who was severely depressed because of his family breakup and impending divorce, instructed her to call our mom, tell her he was going to our younger brother’s house for a while, and to call his landlord and inform him that he wouldn’t be back.
His sudden leaving didn’t surprise us, but our concern deepened when our younger brother informed us he hadn’t heard from him. Nor had my brother’s high school friend—the other person he had told some he was going to live with. Since my younger brother is a detective, he immediately contacted our local authorities and requested help. Four days later—after frantic days and sleepless nights, our brother contacted us to tell us he had been hiking in the mountains and was fine.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Evidently so. My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death. (James 5:19-20 NLT)
Accepting responsibility for others has always been a challenge. God asked Cain where his brother Abel was, and Cain responded with “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Of course, he wasn’t…but he should have been. Rather than caring for him, he killed him out of jealousy.
When I’m my brother’s keeper, I’ll show concern for my immediate and extended family. My responsibility, however, goes farther and includes my spiritual family. Anyone who names the name of Christ is my brother and sister. Jesus even extends my reach to enemies. I must love those who don’t return my love and who may treat me harshly. By using my gifts, talents, time, and finances, I build up the church and also distribute love throughout my circle of influence.
Through prayer, mentoring, and practical acts of love, I demonstrate that I am my brother’s keeper. Are you caring for your brothers and sisters?
Prayer: Open our eyes, Father, that we might see and care for those we might otherwise overlook because of our lack of time or concern.
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