Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

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“I don’t know,” Cain replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9b (CSB)

Cain and Abel are recognized as history’s first ever children born to Adam and Eve. Their sibling rivalry had got the better of them to the point where Cain would do the unthinkable. Rather than having his back, Cain had become so filled with envy and rage toward his brother Abel that he attacked and killed him in a field. 

When God confronted Cain to ask where Abel was, he shot back with, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

While his response was sarcastic and rhetorical, he could not have asked a better or more profound question. Had Cain only asked the Lord or even himself this question maybe years earlier, his relationship with Abel and the final course of his life might’ve been quite different.

Adam was a Keeper

When God created Adam and Eve he gave them an assignment to watch and keep the garden as well as to take responsibility over every living thing on the earth. Cain being their firstborn son would have been given the same assignment. However, as a result of sin and Adam‘s fall we can already see in this first generation that mankind had lost sight of their identity and purpose on the earth.

Cain did not understand his assignment or see himself as a keeper with any responsibility to care for his brother. Instead Abel became his competition, his rival and ultimately his enemy. Rather than caring for his brother, Cain instead became someone capable of murdering his own flesh and blood.

A Question for Us

Cain’s question to the Lord that day continues to be quoted throughout 6,000 years of human history and is still a critical question for all of us today.

Ask yourself, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” “Is there someone in my life that I must care for?”

Our mission at Coastal Church is to help make the city a better place. We recognize that for us that means we are our brother’s keeper in the city.

Whether it’s reaching and connecting people through Alpha or Freedom Session or Life Groups, or providing employment opportunities on the downtown Eastside with our Eden Café, or serving breakfast to hungry high school students at Pitt Meadows Secondary School, we are committed to being our brother’s keeper.

You may have also heard the saying “Charity starts at home”.  This inevitably leads us ask ourselves maybe an even more critical question, “How have I been caring for my own family and siblings?” “What kind of a brother or sister have I been?”

A Cry from the Ground

After Cain lied about his brother’s whereabouts, God revealed that even in death the Lord could hear Abel crying out to him from the ground.

Have you ever had someone you know come to your mind for no apparent reason? Maybe it seemed random at the time but you found out later that this person was going through a tough situation – or maybe they were lonely or distressed or in trouble? 

So often I find that people who come to my mind at random times have been put on my heart for a reason. Maybe their heart is crying out and we are sensing God’s prompting to give them a call or send them a message or get together with them for coffee. 

Let’s resolve that as we continue through 2020 that we will listen to those inner promptings and we will be our brother’s (and our sister’s) keeper.