“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”- John 1: 12-13 (NIV)
Once, I was at a funeral of a friend, who had suddenly passed on. It was a difficult moment as the circumstances of his death were not clear. When one of the Late’s brother stood up to share, he recalled a moment back in their childhood where the deceased had done something stupid. Disturbed, the father had then called one of the elderly brothers and said, “Always look after your brother!”
Gen 4:9 says, “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” We know Cain and Abel were the first two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain, the firstborn, was a farmer, and his brother Abel was a shepherd. Cain was bitter that God favored Abel's sacrifice more, and he consequently murdered him. So he replied, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Perhaps, one could say, that Cain had not been directly charged with looking after his brother Abel, but the questioning implies that God expected it of him. As in this first family, equally so, there are people around us, where while we might not have been explicitly charged with the responsibility of looking after, we are their brother or sisters’ keepers too.
In the Christian faith once we receive Christ we all become members of God’s family (John 1: 12-13). This in a sense implies we are all keepers of each other, as is naturally expected among family members.
And there are certain things expected of a keeper. For example, if one has not been seen one for a long time, a keeper would be concerned and inquire what is happening. Sometimes it is so easy to assume that all is well in one’s life, when one needs help of some sort. Keepers look out for each other. They pray for one another. And where one falls into some trouble or goes through a difficult patch keepers do not just gossip off offhandedly, as someone else's matter. It is theirs as well, and seek to work out solutions together.
As He charged Cain, God is calling us to be our brother and sisters keepers. This could start in our immediate biological family, where we certainly must look after each other. But more so, within God’s family, we are all each other’s keepers! As 1 Corinthians 12:26, reminds us, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together...”
Prayer for today: Lord Farther God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I am reminded that I am my brother and sister’s keeper, and so I pray to be ever on the lookout for my brothers and sisters, as members of God’s family, this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel” ( Zechariah 4:10).
The public life of King David is well known. However, there is an early aspect of his life quite hidden though we can get glimpse of it. The first time we get to know David he is a stay home kid while his big brothers are on to bigger stuff, like fighting with King Saul. “Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem” ( I Samuel 27:13-14).
Left home alone perhaps it was a time for David to bond with the old man Jesse. Maybe he sometimes felt idle and ignored. But there was something maturing in his life for the life ahead. For in the meantime as he would later point to King Saul once an opportunity availed itself, God was ironing out his CV. When he offered to take on Goliath and Saul hesitated, he quickly shot back: “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (vv 35-37).
That’s the point. What had apparent been idle moments God was preparing David for the battles ahead? He would not only emerge out of the shadow as a great warrior but also a shepherd of his people ever relying on God.
Equally so, for all of us, there are moments that might appear idle and we feel frustrated as we see the days go by. Yet, in His gentle ways, God is preparing us for great days ahead.
Prayer today: Lord Father God, maker of heaven and earth, for those periods in life of apparent inactivity and maybe trials, help me appreciate them as the maturing me, for in due time and season all will bear fruit, this I pray in Jesus’ name!