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Are we no longer our brother's keeper?

By Pastor Mark

An opinion in the March 10 Washington Post shared the confession of an uncomfortable subway rider confronted by the needs of a beggar in New York City. The panhandler had entered the subway car, seeking money and food; yet no one offered any assistance. Instead the commuters all found ways to ignore the man until he left.

What bothered the editorialist were not just the solicitations of the man, but the indifference of the public. He had witnessed the irresistible force of poverty and the immovable object of public apathy, collide, smashing a human in between.

We hear a lot today about the disparity between the haves and the have-nots of our society. Supposedly a small percentage of our nation deprives the larger percentage of its daily needs. The prescribed solution is to have our government force the wealthy to cough up the cash.

This is a comfortable idea for we who reside somewhere between these two fiscal extremes. It relieves us of accountability. It is not our money that needs to be redistributed. Tap the rich. We’re not responsible; it’s the government’s job. That’s why we elect them.

Believing this enables us to comfortably look away from the needs of others. We have made the government our brother’s keeper, and the wealthy the source of their keeping. This allows us plenty of time to argue with one another about how everyone else is responsible and should get to work fulfilling what God has commanded of us all.

Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.