Our Brethren Care

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The Lord Jesus isn’t the only one who cares. Our brethren do too. Christians are not isolated individuals; they’re children in the family of God, and what a large family that is. “See what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:11There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: (John 3:1) JND). “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:77There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (John 4:7)).
They are also members in the body of Christ. “God has set the members, each one of them in the body, according as it has pleased Him” (1 Cor. 12:18 JND). “The members should have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25).
The Apostle Paul
The Apostle Paul was one member in the body who set a good example of showing affection and care for his brethren in Christ. He said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). From his writings, we see how well he learned to care for the saints from following the heart of his Master. After cataloging the variety of physical and emotional sufferings that he had endured for the cause of Christ and His church, he then says, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” (2 Cor. 11:28-29). To the Corinthians personally he says, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Cor. 12:15). And he wasn’t partial either; he showed the same care and affection for the saints in other assemblies also: “We were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thess. 2:7-8).
To the saints at Philippi, the Apostle repeated the exhortation to follow him. “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Phil. 3:1717Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)). His own son in the faith, Timothy, certainly proved to have a kindred spirit. Paul commended him to the Philippians by saying, “I have no one like-minded who will care with genuine feeling how ye get on” (Phil. 2:2020For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. (Philippians 2:20) JND). There must have been that quality in Timothy’s manner of interacting with his brethren, at home and among those he visited in his travels with the Apostle, that showed genuine interest and concern for the saints — not only for their temporal needs and wants, but also for their spiritual progress in the things of God.
Overseers in the Assembly
The end of Hebrews says, “Obey your leaders, and be submissive; for they watch over your souls as those that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not groaning, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:1717Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17) JND). God has put those in the assembly with the responsibility of oversight to look out for the spiritual well-being of those in the assembly. Earlier in that chapter we read, “Remember your leaders who have spoken to you the word of God; and considering the issue [or, end] of their conversation, imitate their faith” (vs. 7 JND). The foundation of their lives is the Word of God, with their eyes firmly fixed on “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (vs. 8), and they live by faith, in dependence on Him.
Not all of us have been given the responsibility of oversight in the assembly, but we can each be a Timothy. There is room for every one of us to “care with genuine feeling” how someone else is getting along. At the same time, we’ll discover that there are those of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are caring for our souls too.