Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, December 10, 2019

They Are Not Heavy: They Are Our Brothers

Nina Golgowski, in the Crime Section of the 12/8/2019 Huffington Post, wrote an article entitled, “Abandoned 5-Year-Old Carried Toddler Through Subzero Cold.” The article stated, “The child wore only socks and light clothing while making the incredible half-mile trek to get help, authorities in Alaska said.” This shocking tale reminds one of the "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" ballad by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell.  Some of the lyrics are, “The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where, who knows where. But I'm strong, strong enough to carry him. He ain't heavy, he's my brother.”  

In the Bible, Cain murdered his brother, Abel. God asked him where Abel was, and Cain answered “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).  This was an unreasonable answer to a reasonable question. Recently a person asked me to give him something for the homeless. I fished for some change, but then I noticed that he had no shoes.  He was walking in 40-degree weather while wearing just socks.  I helped him because I am my brother’s keeper.

We could blame his bad choices, the economy, the political administration, or serendipitous luck, but he is my brother.  He is not heavy; I feel obliged to help.  If I see my brother in need and withhold my compassion, how can I say that I love with God’s love and how can I call myself a child of God (1 John 3:17). If I can provide some things for those in need and decide to ignore him how does that help him (James 2:15-16)? 

This is the Christmas season and we are reminded that Jesus, not Amazon, is the reason for the season.  The essential tenant of Jesus’ work on earth was to fulfill our need that we could not fill.  Let us decide that while our brothers and sisters may be physically heavy, their relationship to us means their weight is unimportant.  We will love them, care for them, and serve them like Christ loves, cares for and serves us.   They are not heavy; they are our brothers.

Genesis 4:9
New International Version (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

1 John 3:17 
New International Version (NIV)
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

James 2:15-16
New International Version (NIV)
15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 
16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

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