His Brother’s Keeper
The rhectorical question asked by Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” expresses the attitude of many in this modern world toward even their fellow-believers. The disinterest and carelessness so prevalent among members of the Body of Christ belie their intimate relationship.
What should be, perhaps once was: “Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26). Preoccupation with the affairs of this life, personal preferences, and ecclesiastical estrangements all have sadly influenced the mutual esteem and love that ought to exist among Christians, and have produced in their stead an aloofness and coolness unbecoming disciples of the Lord.
Two students attending the same lectures and writing the same tests indicate that there are exceptions to this general lamentable condition.
Both were eligible for a class award, but both could not be the winner and this they must have known. On the day of the dead-line when all test papers had to be submitted, the elder of the two phoned his friend and enquired as to whether or not he had submitted his paper.
“This is the last day,” he said, “in which we may submit our papers. Mine is in, What about yours?”
“Mine is not,” replied the younger. “I have completed it, but I cannot get off work to either take it or mail it.”
“I have time to take it. I shall pick it up at your home and have it in the hands of the lecturer by noon,” explained the other.
Through his forethought and concern that test paper was marked and graded before the dead-line hour. Little did he know then that his gracious and unselfish gesture was to cost him the coveted award. When all the papers were graded, the one that he kindly had delivered for his brother resulted in his loss. His young Christian friend, through that final paper, had attained a slightly higher grade and won the award.
We appreciate and admire the earnest regard of the elder for the younger. Moreover, we should follow his example, imitating his commendable conduct.
Perhaps, in the experience of the two students we may discover the reason for the lack of love, fellowship and mutual consideration. Christian relationship involves not only a willingness to help another but a willingness to sacrifice for another. To be my brother’s keeper may be a costly matter, an expenditure of time, effort and money; and, occasionally, even the compensations of approval.
Well might we apply to our Christian relations the exhortation of the Apostle Peter, “Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22). The adverb “fervently” used by Peter suggests that in our love for fellow-believers we are to stretch our efforts to accomplish this object. Let us stretch a point or two as by love we serve one another.