Sunday, January 22, 2006

Am I My Brother's Keeper? Part Three

As I said last time, one of Paul’s main objectives with the churches’ offerings was to teach this “fellow-feeling” between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. This “camaraderie”, this “we’re all in this together”, this “we are our brothers’ keepers” attitude was far more important to achieve than any amount of money they could give.

This became clearer to me over the past few months than I’ve ever known before.

Daddy spent 3 weeks in the hospital, then nearly 3 weeks at home. The first week or so wasn’t too bad, and then it began to wear on me - physically and emotionally. We went through such a “roller coaster” of emotions from “he’s not going to live through the night” to “we’re going home in a day or two…” And then, to couple this with only getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night, well it was taking a toll!

One day, when I was particularly stressed, one of Daddy’s sisters-in-law called me. Now, this lady is just special! And she… just encouraged me so much that day. So, after I hung up from talking with her, I wrote this piece that I titled “Running on Empty”.

“God is ever gracious, ever loving, ever caring, ever teaching in every trial of our lives.

When my physical and emotional "tank" is on empty, He sends someone with a smile, a hug, a laugh, or a prayer that adds a little fuel to the tank and gives me a few more "miles" of strength.

Oh God, thank You that in this time of need someone came to me. Thank You, that in this time of need I saw so clearly how need-ful something like that is, and how helpful it can be.

Grant me, I pray, the "eyes" to see the opportunities to pour a little in another's "tank" when they, too, are "running on empty."

Thank You for this one You sent to me today.

And that’s what I see in this scripture today. We are all in this together. We are responsible for each other. We are our “brothers’ keepers”.

When I look at these three churches this morning; when I look at the list of prayer requests on the back of the bulletin; when I look around, I see - “situations” - I see - “needs” - I see where we need to be caring for one another.

And until you’ve been the one on the receiving end, you’ll never know how much an e-mail or phone call, even leaving a message, can mean; how much a meal can mean; how much loaf of bread and an afternoon of talking can truly mean! You just don’t know.

Now, there are two ways of looking at this. You can say, “Well, no one came to see me, so I’ll be doggoned if I’m going to see any of them!”
Or, you can say, “I know how much it would have strengthened me, I’m going to make sure to help strengthen someone else, and let them know they’re cared about…”

Paul’s greatest concern was not just the offering, not just the money. His concern was the bringing together of the Saints. He writes in Galatians 6:10 “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.”

And, so we ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and the answer is “Yes. Yes I am my brother’s keeper…”

Let us pray.
Father, open our eyes that we may see the needs of our brothers and sisters, so that they, and that others’, may “know that we are Christians by our love.”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you’re here today and don’t know Christ as your Lord, you can’t be expected to understand serving others. Your first step is to submit yourself to the Lordship of Jesus.

But, if you are a Christian, this is your responsibility. Now, don’t tell me you don’t have time. Remember these words of Paul, 2 Corinthians 9: 7-8 “You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure For God loves a cheerful giver." (and here’s the key) "And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others." It’s your call - what will you do? How much will you give?

Our closing hymn is “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.”

2 Cor. 9:15 “Thank God for His Son - a gift too wonderful for words!” A-men!


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