“Am I my brother’s keeper?” This question that Cain asked God has echoed throughout the Church since her existence.

Cain already knew the answer to God’s question, but he gave a flippant answer.

Besides the fact that Cain had just murdered his brother, he had a big-time attitude problem. He was angry with his brother and took him out in the field and killed him. God’s question was zeroing in on Cain and putting him on the spot.

Cain tried to get away from the pointed question by saying, “How do you expect me to know where he is? Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I supposed to follow him around every minute and know where he is? He’s not MY responsibility!”

Cain’s response to God was one of calloused indifference, an all-too-common attitude in the Church. People say, “I’ve got enough to do to look after myself.”

People’s names in the Old Testament are often significant and indicate their character. Experts in language tell us that “Cain” points to self-sufficiency, to strength, to the first-born with first rights to everything, and to power and self-assertion.

By contrast, “Abel” means nothingness and frailty. This paints a picture of two brothers who have completely different attitudes about life.

What kind of attitude do you have toward other Christians at church? You are your brother’s keeper. Don’t throw away your responsibility.

Nothing is really ours until we share it. — C.S. Lewis

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder