Perhaps the most commonly heard answer to that question today is "no." The belief of many is that everyone should take care of themselves. And, yes, if you can take care of yourself - go to work, pay your bills, manage your life - you should do so. If you can take care of yourself but do not do so, then you really shouldn't expect other people to take care of you. But it is not that simple. I have a healthy body and mind, and live in stable economic conditions. Therefore, I have a pretty good ability to take care of myself.
But others do not have safety, the dozens of the other advantages I have. There are people who have congenital conditions that limit their abilities. Some have been injured, some have mental illness. A lot of people are just not ever going to be able to take care of themselves. You know that. So for a lot of people, when the question is, "Am I my brother/s/sister's keeper?" the answer has to be "YES!" And that is just from a human point of view. The biblical witness has always pointed us towards a responsibility to care for our neighbors. From the Sabbath laws in Leviticus to the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Bible says clearly that we need to care for our neighbors in times of need.
I have been watching the news. Our world is experiencing another horrible refugee crisis. People are fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq, and others are fleeing drug wars in Latin America. According to Time magazine, more than 4 million people have fled from Syria alone, and many more from Iraq and other nearby countries. They are flooding into Turkey and into Europe, arriving with only the clothes on their backs. Many are dying as they try and escape across the Mediterranean Sea.
We, as followers of Jesus Christ, as called to care, to do a little more than just pray. How is it that we can be our brother's/sister's keeper? Our national offices will be encouraging congregations to find ways to be helpful to refugees. If you would like to be a part of the effort to help refugees, please contact Dave Hosseini who will be coordinating our activities with Opening Doors and Church World Service.