puffy jacket story
Deuteronomy 22:1-4 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 22:1 “If you see your brother Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it; make sure you return it to your brother.
Deuteronomy 22:2 If your brother does not live near you or you don’t know him, you are to bring the animal to your home to remain with you until your brother comes looking for it; then you can return it to him.
Deuteronomy 22:3 Do the same for his donkey, his garment, or anything your brother has lost and you have found. You must not ignore it.
Deuteronomy 22:4 If you see your brother’s donkey or ox fallen down on the road, do not ignore it; help him lift it up.
puffy jacket story
Out on the trail, we often come across an object which was lost by another hiker. If we are reasonable sure that we are going in the direction of the hiker who lost the object, we will pick it up and bring it to the next shelter. I lost a valuable puffy jacket once and was able to reclaim it because someone found it, and brought it to a hostel near me. We look out for each other on the trail.
Twice in this passage, the covenant citizen is charged to not ignore something. The ox or sheep straying, or anything that one’s brother has lost — these things should not be ignored. A covenant citizen is his brother’s keeper, but should not keep things that his brother has lost. “Finders keepers” is not a biblical principle. It sets aside relationship and responsibility for greed and more stuff.
However, ignoring the lost animal or object does not mean just walking away from it. Because it belongs to somebody, the covenant citizen is charged with protecting the lost animal or object until it can be reclaimed.
That is the way it should be for believers. Things will go wrong for those around us, but we are all responsible to look out for each other,and not to prey on each other.
Lord, make us the kind of people who are considerate of each other.