Am I my brother's keeper?

It was Cain, of course, who asked this question.

“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).

It was a rhetorical question. Cain meant, “Of course I’m not responsible for my brother’s welfare!” Seldom in history has anyone been more wrong. “Yes Cain, you are your brother’s keeper.”

So can I move the apostrophe over for a moment? “Am I my brother’s keeper” (see the punctuation mark between the “r” and the “s”?) Put it after the “s.” Am I my brothers’ keeper? Because, beloved, we are. We are to look after all our brothers and sisters.

They say that in churches 20% of the people do 80% of the work. That means that 8 out of 10 church members basically sit in pews and do nothing for God’s kingdom. Their inaction becomes a lifetime habit.

I urge you to begin a lifetime habit of service to your local congregation. Mentor little children! Visit elderly saints! Teach Bible classes! Volunteer to help!

Get to know, not just friends your own age, but those from different demographic groups. Greet visitors before you greet your friends. The latter (that is, your friends) will still be there after you’ve met the newcomer.

Your local congregation provides you with Biblical preaching, rejoices when you rejoice, weeps with you when you weep, provides a pool of Christian friends, mentors, and offers opportunities to serve.

As author and preacher Dan Winkler put it:

“The church ‘somewhere’ cannot weep with us when we weep,” cannot serve us when we are in need, cannot provide guidance when you’re lost. Every Christian should be a part of a local church. “Floating members make sinking churches!”/1

Every Christian should feel the responsibility for his congregation, its moral and spiritual health, its unity, its faithfulness to God and his word! Frequently Christians want all the blessings of a church without the responsibilities of a church.

So I have just one question for you. Where is your brother (or sister)? You are their keeper!

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