Keith Hunt - An Important Aspect of Brotherly Love Restitution of All Things


An Important Aspect of Brotherly Love

     "This is my commandment, that you LOVE ONE ANOTHER....."
      said Jesus to His followers.
      What do you think constitutes brotherly love?

     Some would say "doing good" by helping my brother or sister
in various ways is brotherly love. That helping could include
mowing the lawn for him when he's sick, or helping him/her repair
their leaking tap if they do not know how to and you do. Maybe it
would be lending a tool that you have and they do not. Or perhaps
taking a  basket of fruit or a box of groceries over to one of
the older widows in the church, that could sure use that little
extra.  Maybe loving our brother is to give them some clothing we
no longer need but they could make use of. Then it may be, having
them over for a meal and fellowship, or being there to comfort
them in time of sorrow and pain.
     Brotherly love could be helping them move homes when you
know they can't afford the "professional movers" and you have a
truck.  It could be picking someone up for Sabbath services when
they don't have a car.
     There are hundreds of different ways we can show brotherly
love.  There are MANY passages of scripture that amplify various
aspects of brotherly love.
     But there is ONE aspect of brotherly love that is often
overlooked, or it is not specifically thought of as brotherly
love, yet it is very much so. That aspect is what I want
to dwell on in this article.

                        GOD GIVES GIFTS

     First let me give you the background. Turn to 1 Cor.12 and
read verses 1 to 11. Now notice, Paul is saying this to the
BRETHREN at Corinth, not just the ministers or deacons. He is
telling them, and so us also, that there are MANY gifts that the
Holy Spirit can distribute to ANY PERSON within the body of
Christ, The persons who receive these gifts mentioned do not have
to be a minister!
     Stephen(Acts 6) was given the gift to perform great wonders
and miracles - he was not an ordained minister, but was appointed
to serve tables.
     Philip(Acts 8) was not an ordained minister yet he did
miracles.
     Anna(Luke 2) had the gift of prophecy - she was not a priest
or minister. The four daughters of Philip also had the same
gift(Acts 21), Yet they were not ordained ministers. The point
is, our heavenly Father can give ANY of the gifts of the Spirit,
to ANYONE He so chooses.

     Paul likened the body of Christ to the human body(1
Cor.12:12-27). Different parts with different functions - each
unique - each with its own particular talent and ability. I
have a set of books called "The Human Body." One book is devoted
to the "eye" another to the "ear," another to the ''brain'' and
so on. Each part of the body is breath taking in the function it
performs. We are indeed, as the Psalmist said, "fearfully and
wonderfully made."
     Each part of the body has a role to play in the benefiting
of the whole - each has a contributing part to play in the
well-being and function of the entire body.
     So it is in the spiritual body of Christ. Each of us are
unique - with distinct individual abilities and talents. We all
have varying life experiences to share - varying skills we may
have learned. One is a skilful carpenter, another a plumber,
another a school teacher, or baker, or banker, accountant,
dress-maker, and on and on it goes with various abilities and
talents.

                 DOES ONE PERSON HAVE EVERYTHING?

     Do you know of any ONE flesh and blood person who is skilled
in EVERYTHING? Who has all the answers to all questions
pertaining to this physical life? No, you do not! Not one single
man or woman is an "island unto themselves'' unless they live on
one by themselves.  Each of us have something to give to others
in the body of Christ, or to put it another way - each of us have
something we can receive from the rest(Ecc.4:9-12).
     Because of that one fact alone, we should, as Paul said, 
"...... in lowliness of mind let each esteem  the other better
than themselves" (Phil.2:3). We should acknowledge that everyone
in the body of Christ is unique and of great value, having a part
to contribute to the benefit and edification of the whole.

     The person sitting next to you - in front of you - behind
you - to the left of you or the right of you in services, has
something to offer YOU! They can give something to edify YOU
personally.

     It is crucial for any group of people who desire harmonious
love(as the body of Christ indeed should) to get their minds off
themselves and on to others. We as individuals must stop looking
at ourselves with pride of accomplishment, thinking "how great I
am" and do as Paul instructed the Philippians, "Look not every
man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others
"(Phil.2:4).
     We should acknowledge that others, from the young single
person to the old silver haired man or woman, have God given
talents and abilities of one kind or another that can contribute
to OUR edification.

                        MOSES AND JETHRO

     You remember Moses - the man to whom God talked to out of
the burning bush - the man whom God let see His backward parts -
the man chosen to lead the people of Israel out of the bondage of
Egypt. The man through whom God did many mighty miracles. He was
a great man - head and shoulders above all others we would say. A
man educated in the courts of Pharaoh - a prince being groomed
for kingship - a splendid military commander with many victory
pins on his uniform. A man who must have had a great amount of
knowledge and wisdom.
     Surely if there ever was one, this Moses must have been an
"island unto himself" we might well conclude.
     But we would be wrong. Yes, he must have had many gifts and
talents yet he was not the "sum total" of wisdom or ability.

     It was not long after Moses led Israel out of Egypt that his
father-in-law Jethro, came to visit him - the account is found in
Ex.18. Moses sat to judge the disputes of the people - one man to
judge many. He was sitting in judgment from morning till night,
so great was the task. Jethro was dumbfounded that one man would
undertake such a monumental job. He told Moses that he would, as
we might say today, "put himself into an early grave" - he would
wear himself out(verse 18).
     Jethro asked Moses to listen to him. Read the council he
gave to Moses for yourself - it's found in verses 19 to 23.

     Now you might say, "Who was this unknown Jethro to give the
great Moses council?" Was it Jethro that had brought Israel from
out of Egyptian bondage and slavery? Was it Jethro that God had
used to perform such wonderful miracles like dividing the Red Sea
for Israel to walk through dry shod? Was it Jethro that God was
revealing His laws and commandments to?
     Who was this Jethro that he thought he could impart to Moses
some bit of wisdom and knowledge?
     Ah, but that was not Moses' attitude at all. He didn't think
he was the sum total of talent and ability and wisdom. What did
Moses do upon hearing what Jethro had to say? Verse 24 says, "So
Moses harkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all
that he had said."

     Moses was willing to "look upon the things of others" - to
acknowledge the wisdom, abilities, and gifts of others. He was
willing to LEARN from others, to be TAUGHT by others from their
store of wisdom, knowledge and life experiences.
     This attitude of Moses is one reason why it is written, "Now
the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon
the face of the earth" (Num.12:3).

                AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF BROTHERLY LOVE

     Now, have you grasped what is the important aspect of
brotherly love I am bringing out in this article?

     It is the willingness to LEARN from each other. To accept
that out fellow brother and sister can TEACH us something - can
impart to us at times, some piece of knowledge, some pearl of
wisdom, some grain of truth, some lesson of experience, that
we don't have, or that we are overlooking.
     This important aspect of brotherly love is the willingness,
"....not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he
ought - not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance;
but to rate his ability with sober judgment........ For as in one
physical body we have many parts(organs, members) and all of
these parts do not have the same function or use. So we, numerous
as we are, are one body in Christ, the Messiah, and individually
we are parts one of another - mutually dependent on one another.
Having gifts(faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according
to the grace given us, let us use them......(Let your) love be
sincere - a real thing........Love one another with brotherly
affection - as members of one family - giving PRECEDENCE and
showing HONOR to one another " (Rom.12:3-l0,  Amplified Bible -
emphasis mine).

     Peter addressed the elders of the Church in his first letter
and said to them, "Likewise, you younger(in literal age and/or
length of time in the ministry) submit yourselves unto the
elder(in age and/or service). Yes, all of you be subject one to
another, and be clothes with humility: for God resists the proud,
and gives grace to the humble" (1 Pet.5:5 comments and emphasis
mine).
     The ministers of the Church are to be clothed with humility
- they are to LEARN from each other. They are not to lord it over
one another with a kind of "pecking order" - this minister is THE 
greatest, then this minister is second greatest, and this one
third greatest, and so on down the line.
     Ministers, like anyone else in the body of Christ, will have
varying talents and abilities, varying strong points and
weaknesses.  They are to be "growing in grace and knowledge" as
all God's children are admonished to do (2 Pet.3:18). They are to
be teachable just as Moses was - from whoever God sends to do the
teaching.  In so doing and practicing this aspect of brotherly
love, they set an example to the flock to do likewise
(1 Pet.5:3).

     No matter what function we have in the spiritual body,
whether elder/overseer, deacon, deaconess, or congregational
saint, we are all to APPRECIATE and VALUE each other. Remembering
each member is an individual in whom dwells both the Father and
the Son (John 14:23).  Yes, that young man or woman, who may not
have seen that much of life as yet, can impart to you something
that will enrich your spiritual growth. That grey haired, slow
walking, old lady, has something to teach you whereby you will be
edified. That man with only a grade 5 or 6 (maybe less) education
- has something you do not have, that will help you "grow in
grace and knowledge."

     You need to deeply appreciate, be thankful for, give honor
to, spend time with, and be willing to LEARN from, your brothers
and sisters in Christ.
     As you do all this, you will be practicing an important
aspect of brotherly love.

              ..............................................

Written in 1991.      
by Keith Hunt
All scripture quotations are from the KJV
unless otherwise stated

 
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