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 Issue #101 Thu, 26 Oct 2006

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seeker of truth

Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #101 Thu, 26 Oct 2006   March 12th 2007, 00:40

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Dear Youth,

When Abel's blood was spilled, God asks Cain where Abel is. Disobedience and jealousy had now turned into murder, falsehood, and conceit in Cain's heart. His response to God's question was: "I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9) Sadly, many of us today ask the same question as Cain did: "Am I my brother's keeper?"

Young people, we ARE our brother's keeper. No man is an island and it was never God's purpose for man to live in a cloister; we are to watch out for one another and help guide one another on toward heaven. We may suppose that we can just live our own life and keep to ourselves, or that we can do whatever we want without it having an effect on others, but this is not reality. Many teenagers try to make this fantasy their actuality and live their lives as if they believe they can isolate themselves from others and from their influence. But it doesn't matter how hard they try, it just doesn't work that way. So today, we're going to look at how we can be our brother's keeper and how we can have a positive influence on others.

Christ's religion is that of self-sacrifice and self-denial. Jesus said Himself: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) Far too often we try to appease self and it's demands, rather than sacrificing ourselves for the good of others. We are admonished to be our brother's keeper, not the keeper of self! Others interests, should always be first. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, the ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1) Paul here is telling us that we need to be living sacrifices, in other words our whole lives should be one of sacrifice for the blessing of others! "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of God." (Galatians 6:2) By helping, by lifting burdens and by watching out for the needs of others, we are keeping watch over our brother.

"There has been too much of a spirit to ask, 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Said the angel: 'Yea, thou art thy brother's keeper. Thou shouldest have a watchful care for thy brother, be interested for his welfare, and cherish a kind, loving spirit toward him. Press together, press together.'" (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 114) We say that we love our parents, love our siblings, love one another, but true love goes beyond a theoretical understanding, a feeling, or even the bond that a mother feels toward her nursing child. We are told that: "Love suffers long and is kind; Love. . .does not seek its own." (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5 NKJV) When we truly love one another as Christ loved us, we will not seek our own, instead we will have a tender regard for the condition of others. We will be warm, kind and patient with those who try our will the most! Remember that Christ died for everyone, and that He is individually interested in everyone; with that in mind we should bend our every effort to care for everyone too, and we should see each soul, whether a family member, someone at church, a friend from school, or someone walking down the street, as a soul for whom Christ died.

We should be constantly mindful of the fact that we have a responsibility to share God's love with the world. God expects us to give of ourselves to advance His work. We can give of ourselves in many ways, perhaps our time or influence, but God may even be calling for a sacrifice of our money. Often we spend our God-given means to gratify our carnal desires. A young friend just said the other day that in his opinion, even if something is on sale or ridiculously cheap, if you don't need it then it is a waste of money. Of course, there's nothing wrong with sales, in fact buying at sales is very economical, but if we just buy because it's cheap, or because we like it, then we are simply wasting God's money. How much we would be able to give to help others if we ourselves spent our means wisely.

In 1890, the Seventh-day Adventist Church desperately needed a ship so that they could spread light and truth on Pitcairn Island and some of the other Pacific Islands. The sum needed was $12,000! Young people, do you know how the Adventist Church raised the money they needed? It was through the Sabbath Schools. Young children toiled and worked; they ran errands, they worked in the fields, they sewed pin-cushions and did whatever they could do to earn money for the mission ship. Those boys and girls could have kept the money for themselves and spent it on whatever things might interest young children, but instead they had in their hearts an honest burden for the people of those unknown lands, and they gave of themselves and of their money. Through the earnest sacrifice and endeavours of the Sabbath Schools, the "Pitcairn" was launched and was able to sail to many of the islands that otherwise may have been difficult or impossible to reach without the aid of the ship.1 God is calling for this same spirit of self-sacrifice amongst His people today.

"When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand. So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.'" (Ezekiel 33:2b-4, 5b-7a)

We have a responsibility to warn our fellow men about the approaching storm. God may ask us to approach someone and point out something in their life that may be separating them from God. But, in the case of reproof, instruction, or correction, we must ALWAYS let God lead; NEVER run ahead of God! We must always be very sure, especially as young people, that everything is said or done in God's perfect timing. Our attitude is also VITALLY important. We must remember that we are young and that respect of those who are older is required of us. The most important thing, however, is that rebukes and instructions must ALWAYS be uttered in love. Attacking or condemning a person for what they are or are not doing is a wrong way to approach the issue. We are there to win the person's heart and we must do everything possible in order that this will be accomplished. Of course, it is never our duty to force; and there will always be people who will shun the warning; however, our manner and words must make the path we are pointing them to the most favourable for them to take.

God may call some people to go directly to an individual to instruct or even to reprove them, but he doesn't always do this and we must be mindful of the fact that we can still be "watchmen" without directly speaking with another individual. If we ever have opportunity to publicly testify or speak for God, it is always our privilege to point the congregation to Jesus the Truth, the Way, and the Life. We may feel the urge to share some words of encouragement and warning in a letter to a friend or relative, or in a publication of some kind. But even just the way we live our lives and conduct ourselves can make a telling confession of Christ. When others see Jesus in even a little child, their hearts are often cut much more deeply then with the severest or most persuasive speech. ALWAYS remember, however, that in any case, being a watchman requires us to be constantly in tune to the voice of God. We don't ever want to take an action that we will regret later on.

In that day when the Lord shall ask us, "Where is thy brother?" May we be able to say "I have been the keeper of my brother, and by Your grace he/she is here to spend eternity with You!"

--Stephanie Fox

PLEASE NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
1Sourced from Pioneer Stories by Arthur Whitefield Spalding

1993 by Research Institute for Better Reading, Inc.
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Issue #101 Thu, 26 Oct 2006
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