9 ¶ Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
I was walking past a television the other afternoon when I heard a talk-show host shout out a closing remark: “Remember! You, and only you, are responsible for your own life!”
I probably am over-thinking this thing, but I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what that’s supposed to mean. Does it mean I need to take responsibility for the things that fall under my jurisdiction? I agree with that. If I don’t pay my power bill, I deserve to get my lights shut off. That’s pretty obvious.
But I have a feeling that the host meant more than that. Unless I have it wrong, I think the idea is that if we don’t have the things and circumstances that we want in life, it’s because we haven’t been doing the right things and making the right decisions. Now, in my book, that’s only true to a certain extent.
Christians don’t always get to do what they want to do and they don’t always get to have things the way that they want them. The reasons are simple. First of all, God is sovereign and sends circumstances (sometimes pleasant and sometimes difficult) according to His holy and good will. And secondly, believers are not called to only think of themselves. We are called to do the will of our Heavenly Father, and to also be concerned with the burdens that others are carrying. In short, there are things in your life you’re responsible for. But, life isn’t all about you.
In today’s Scripture lesson (at the top), Cain asks a question that echoes through all the ages: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Even though he didn’t want to hear it, the answer to that query is, “Yes, Cain, you ARE your brother’s keeper. And you are the ‘keeper’ of all the folks that you come in contact with in each and every day. This is the will of God, your Creator.”
So live to be a friend of God. And don’t forget to be your brother’s keeper.
We are all responsible TO our Lord.
We are all responsible FOR the well-being of those around us.
And we are all serving a God who keeps His servants in His constant care.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher got a note from Gwen’s momma that said she was glad to get the photographs.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).