A brief excerpt from a paper I’m writing on God’s response to the poor. This partially explains one of the reasons I am passionate about opening The Well Coffeehouse. I’d be honored if you took a quick read and offered any comments or insights.
From the beginning God intended for man to care for His Creation. This “watch-care” included care for the animals and the land. It might be argued too that God designed Adam to care for his only “neighbor,” his wife, Eve. Eve is traditionally blamed for committing the first sin that led to the fall of mankind. The first misstep (or whatever one might wish to call it), however, was Adam’s failure to protect and to provide care when Eve was in need of intervention. Sin was introduced into the world and mankind inherited a fallen nature that would continuously struggle with one of God’s most essential desires: care for one another.
Many things were inherited in the fall of mankind but one of the greatest struggles for mankind from the first days outside of the Garden until today is the social responsibility to care for one another. This is an inherited flaw that is seen in the firstborn son of Adam. Cain inherited a tragic apathy that is revealed not only in the murdererous treatment of his brother but perhaps more deeply in his response to God that asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper (Gen 4:29)?” The bigger issue here is why this was ever a question to begin with. It is a question that reflects a marred creation that has quickly forgotten how to care. The unfolding Story of Scripture is God’s answer to the question. It is revealed through the prophetic voices and reaches a crescendo with a resounding, “Yes!” from the Jubilee-declaring Messiah (Luke 4).
This “yes” from God comes fittingly through a community. Cain’s rhetorical question will echo through the Israel community. They are a people whose very purpose is to provide care for the world as “a light to the Gentiles” (Isa. 49:6). Israel was to model the watch-care of its own community and the watch-care of its neighbors.