Early in the Scripture narrative there appears a story that likely caused you to gasp the first time you heard it. There had been an excruciating confrontation between the first two people God made and the devil camouflaged as a snake. The people lost. As the devil was slithering out of the beautiful garden I suspect he looked back over his shoulder and snarled, “I’ll be back for your children.” And he did.
Scene II occurs probably 25 or 30 years later. The two sons subsequently born to Adam and Eve were coming together for a worship service. Abel brought a lamb for a sacrifice; Cain brought cucumbers. Abel’s offering was accepted, Cain’s was not. Cain was so angry, he killed his brother. You know that part of the story (Genesis 4), but here is the part that I find unfathomable. God confronted Cain and inquired about Abel, “Where’s your brother?” Cain’s answer catches your breath… In effect he answers, “I am not my brother’s keeper.” Had I been there I might have answered, “No, you’re not your brother’s keeper; you are your brother’s brother.”
I wanted to warm up that story in your mind to make a point: None of God’s people should ever have to carry their burden alone. God created us as social creatures and something valuable goes out of us when that need is not met. Half of the ads on TV brag about the fact that you can purchase their product and pay for it without touching anyone. You can buy about anything (including a car) and it will be delivered to your door untouched. Present world conditions make it increasingly difficult to remember that we are not just each other’s keepers, we are kin. You are my brother – or sister – because we have the same Father. That means I have a responsibility for you.
Here’s my proposal: Choose a prayer partner (man with man, woman with woman) and covenant together that you will pray for each other every day and with each other at least once each week. It will likely take some creativity to make it work but we are good at setting priorities when they are truly important.
You might begin your prayer session with a question like, “How can I pray for you today?” Or “What are you especially thankful for today?” Or, “How have you seen God at work since we were together last time?”
But, brother Don, everybody’s so busy! Right! That’s why this new entry in our daily calendar is so essential…we need to be reminded that we’re never too busy for family. I know you remember the story of the little boy who was carrying his crippled brother down the road on his back. A passer-by shouted out, “Son, he’s too heavy for you.” The boy shouted back, “He’s not heavy; he’s my brother.”
By Don Jacobsen