“Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Cain’s answer to God) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
Tis the season to be generous, so perhaps you have put your change into a red kettle at the mall or sent in a donation to one of the many requests that arrive in the mail this time of year. That makes you feel good and feel good about yourself, for a while. What about the rest of the year? Do you ask yourself the same question as Cain did? Are you your brother’s keeper? Is it up to you to give, to volunteer, to make a difference?
We live in a time of declining government help and funding to provide for the needs of the disadvantaged. It’s a time when our elected officials seem more interested in arguing with each other than providing help for those in need. Cutbacks in public spending for everything from mental health care to providing basic services has shifted the burden of caring for those in need to the private sector – to churches and volunteer assistance groups. I wrote about one such group in this area called S.A.L . – Supportive Assisted Living – that provides needed services to allow developmentally challenged adults to live in homes of their own. You can read what I wrote about the group here.
S.A.L. is just one of the many groups at work in our community providing the services and help that are needed and filling the voids left by our uncaring and ineffective governments. They truly take on the role of their brother’s keepers. S.A.L. can use your help as a volunteer or paid staff and certainly as a donor. Other groups, like Community Sharing, the Red Cross and local churches provide clothing, food, shelter and services to those in
need. We see snippets on the news and then they quickly fade away. What happens to those people when they get back home with their bags of groceries or that new coat? Do we really think that everything will be OK now? We did our part; we delivered the Thanksgiving bag of groceries; now we can get back to our lives. That’s not how life works.
Groups like S.A.L. are there every day, day in and day out; providing the daily care and guidance and support that their clients need. It is that role that has been abandoned by government – the role of my brother’s keeper. S.A.L. does receive some funding through various government programs, but that funding is constantly being cut. Now, you may say; “Well that’s not government’s role”; to which I would rely, “If not the government, then who?” After all, our “government” is supposedly representing we the people. So it is us who are abandoning those in need when the government abandons them. If your argument is that, “government can’t afford to provide those services”; then how do expect charities to afford to do so when you abandon that responsibility? After all, charities are funded by whom – we the people.
This all leads me to the question that serves as today’s title – if not me, then who? Who is going to provide the funding and the services, if I don’t? Who is going to step up and volunteer, if I don’t? Who is going to vote for better politicians who will care about the real issue in our society, if I don’t? Who will run for those offices and do that better job, if I don’t? You see, it always comes down to the individual. Who else will be inspired to take action if I don’t? Can you answer that question in your life? Do you even ask? Who will if you don’t?
Be your brother’s keeper today – give, call, volunteer, make a difference. If not you, then who? If you want to support the efforts of S.A.L., click here.