A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Yesterday we passed this old truck on a wagon near New Holland, PA
"I Am My Brotherís Keeper"
Message summary: If the hundreds of millions of people who call themselves "followers of Christ" would seek to be their brother's keeper we would sure see a difference in our world! How can you be your brother's or sister's keeper today?
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"Am I my brotherís keeper?" (Genesis 4:9). "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:3,4).
Yesterday, following an early morning chaplaincy visit, we had Brooksyne's birthday breakfast at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord, a huge eatery here in Lancaster County where one eats free on their birthday as long as another paying guest joins the birthday attendee! Adding much color to two older people eating together were Sarah Beth and Stephen, two Amish children, ages 5 and 3, who joined us. They were so excited about eating at the Shady Maple we are sure they will be talking about it for quite some time and five year old Sarah Beth informed us, "They have good food!"
Brooksyne walked through the buffet line and picked out food for the children based upon their requests and had them seated with me when she returned to the buffet line for her own food, mask and fresh gloves on each trip to the food bar. As I sat with the children an Amish man approached me and asked, "So what do we have here?". I introduced the children and explained that I was close friends with their parents. Although he didn't know them we visited for a few minutes. I sensed he was looking out for the children as part of his community, since obviously my English attire and haircut is a dead giveaway that we are not Amish. I suppose it looked a little peculiar for two young Amish children to be alone with an older non-Amish man. His interest was heartening and especially understandable in light of recent events here in Lancaster County.
Early this summer a young Amish teenage girl was abducted after walking home from a church service and she is still missing. Anyone reading this who lives in our area knows about this and many prayers have gone up for her safe return and for her family. There are posters up all over appealing for help in finding her. This has created understandable wariness and anxiety in the Amish community. The man whom I met was named Stephen Stoltzfus, who has the same last name as the missing teenager. I don't know whether they would be related since it's a common Amish name in our area.
I contrast the Scriptural "I am my brother's keeper" question of the Amish man with a lesser considered aspect of the abortion industry. Last week we mentioned reading a book titled, "The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories" by Abby Johnson. which tells stories of those who had worked in abortion mills. One story was about an expectant client whom the abortion "counselor" suspected was a victim of human trafficking, which she pointed out was a common suspicion among many of their clients. However the concerns were rarely reported due to the notion it wasn't their business and doing so would cut into their real business, the murdering of pre-born children. (When we have the full perspective of eternity we will realize what an utterly vile organization Planned Parenthood and its ilk really is.)
Today's rather famous text is Cain's response to God's inquiry, "Where is your brother Abel?Ē (v.9) concerning Cain's brother Abel, whom he had just murdered.
ďI donít know,Ē he replied. ďAm I my brotherís keeper?Ē This is the cavalier response of a sin-hardened heart. Of course Cain was also self-deceived, assuming God really didn't know. But He did know and He always knows, "The Lord said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brotherís blood cries out to me from the ground'" (v.10)
Examining the Scripture's call to love one another and considering passages like the "Good Samaritan" we realize the correct and God-honoring response should not be a question, "Am I my brotherís keeper?" but rather a declaration, "I am my brother's keeper". We can be overwhelmed by human need and we can't do everything but we should seek to do what we can in our sphere of influence. That's what Stephen Stoltzfus did yesterday.
If the hundreds of millions of people who call themselves "followers of Christ" would seek to be their brother's keeper we would sure see a difference in our world! How can you be your brother's or sister's keeper today?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, if we claim to love You we will also love our brothers and sisters. This is how we know what love is, that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, and we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. Genuine, sacrificial love compels us to look out for those whose lives might be endangered and seek to be their safeguard, acting as Your human agent in overseeing the safety and welfare of those You place in our path. Help us to be mindful not only of our own interests, but also the interests of others through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Since my birthday coincides with the anniversary of Stephen's launch of Daily Encouragement 24 years ago, our readers become aware each year of my birthdate. Yesterday was no exception and I received a number of kind and gracious birthday wishes. Thank you to those who decoded the Greek number Stephen included in yesterday's message to reveal my age, but you chose to gently decode the number to be quite a bit younger than my real age. Aren't you kind:)
Stephen's note: Mike, one of our longtime friends, wrote, "I am not too good with Greek but would that 'milestone age' be 29?" I wrote back and told him that amazingly she was a negative 14 years when we met him and his wife Kathy in 1977!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Do Something" Video Matthew West
"Give Me Your Eyes" Video Brandon Heath
"If We Are the Body" Video Casting Crowns
"I Will Be My Brother's Keeper" Video Matt Maher
"Brother's Keeper" Video Rich Mullins
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