ACTS 15:36 – And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.”
THEME OF THE DAY. PRACTICING THE ONE ANOTHERS. Soon after the fall of humanity into sin, we meet the first murderer, Cain, in Genesis 4. The Lord confronted Cain about the whereabouts of his brother Abel with the question, “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain responded, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9-10). Well, Cain, the answer to your question is, “Yes, you were.” And as we take that into New Testament Christianity and our walks with the Lord, the answer is also, “Yes, we are.” In many ways, we are privileged and responsible to be involved in the well-being of other Christians. Do a study sometime of all the “one anothers” in the Bible. There are over fifty. We will learn that Christians are commanded to be actively participating in the mutual support and upholding of one another. Yes, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers in many ways. And today’s scripture offers us a few lessons to help us practice this Biblical truth.
First, be intentional in the lives of other Christians – “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers.” Love takes initiative. Love doesn’t sit around and wait. It moves into people’s lives and when it comes to the spiritual welfare of one another, love is the motivator. We simply cannot profess even to be a Christian without loving investment in the well-being of other Christians. Here is an amusing and insightful story illustrating the need for initiative in the Christian life. Two strangers attended the same church for several Sundays. None spoke to them. One said, “I will give this church one more chance. If nobody speaks to me next Sunday, I’ll never go there again.” The other said, “I don’t like this no-speaking in church. If no one speaks to me next Sunday, I’ll speak to someone.” Next Sunday, the usher happened to seat both of these men, one in front of the other. As usual after service, no one greeted the other. The first man rose to stalk out forever. The second man turned, put out his hand and said, “Good morning, sir, I’m glad to see you. Fine sermon, isn’t it?” Both were pleased at having made a friend, and continued to come. To love one another means reaching out to one another and that takes initiative.
Next, go beyond the shallow “How are you doing?” on a Sunday morning when greeting fellow Christians. Every Sunday we gather in our places of worship, we are in the presence of hurting Christians, suffering Christians, depressed Christians, lonely Christians, and Christians who need to be loved by other Christians. There are some Sundays, we are those types of Christians. And how does God minister to us? Through His Word and prayer proclaimed publicly and shared individually through His people to His people. If we are going to be genuine in our love for one another, we must do two things. First, go beyond the quick “ships passing in the night” greeting with other Christians. There must be a willingness to really listen when a hurting person responds, “Do you really want to know?” The second thing we must do is go from listening to them to our involvement in them in the ministry of the Word. Be intentional to put “feet” on our love by giving time to minister to them, and that will mean outside the convenience of an hour or so on a Lord’s Day morning. It will mean becoming life-on-life just like Jesus did and commands of us.
We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. God has ordained it to be so. That is one of the reasons for the local church. It protects, strengthens, and encourages us. May the Lord help us make this command an important part of our walk with Him. It verifies we are not His disciples, but healthy disciples.
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when my life too often and easily revolves around me at the neglect of Your people.”
QUOTE: “We are responsible and privileged to minister to one another. It is what Christ’s disciples are called to do”