“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.