“It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.”Hebrews 11:4 NLT
We don’t know for sure but one might assume that the offering Cain brought was his sloppy seconds. We learn later from Moses that if the Jews were to present a offering of fruit or grains that it as to be the first fruits of the harvest. Maybe Cain noticing that Able was going to make an offering ran back to his fields and hastily gathered the chaff or the fallen fruit on the ground, the bruised neglected and unwanted fruit. Not his best, no thought put into it, he wasn’t prepared. It would have been better if he had not shown up at all.
Are we like Cain? Do we go to church on Sunday because our brothers and sisters are going? Are we going prepared to meet with our saviour, expecting to receive something from him, or do we wake up and rush out the door hoping we make it in time. When the offering plate comes around are you prepared to give your first fruits or are you rummaging in your pocket hoping there is something of value in there to give? If the church is looking for help with a community project do you give your time freely, or do you wait to be asked?
Unlike Cain, Able was prepared. He put thought into his offering to God. This offering he gave wasn’t out of obligation or requirement, it was a choice to worship the God who created him. A man like Able is preparing his heart to do the mission of God. Not out of obligation but because he understands that people need to know Jesus. His time, money, everything is dedicated to the service of God. God get his best, his first fruits.
Jesus mentioned this himself when he said ‘not all who say Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom’. Many people can go to church, they Can sing the right songs, recite all the readings, stand and sit on command, say the most beautiful prayers and do amazing things, but it is their heart condition that Jesus is looking at. Cains heart wasn’t in his offering, he was only doing it because he saw Able doing it. Able on the other hand was honest and transparent in his offering, he knew what he was doing and who he was worshiping.
So today I ask of you, are you living like Cain or Able? Following for the sake of following, giving God sloppy seconds? Or are you following because of what Jesus has done for you, preparing and working the mission because of what he has done? Maybe it is time to change.
Father, blessed be your name. From the beginning people have known you are worthy of worship. Show us if we have been giving you our leftovers. We ask for forgiveness if this is the case. We want to give you our first fruits in our time, energy money, family, harvest, our everything. We can only thrive in this world if we give it all to you. Everything else will fall away, help us to give it all to you. Holy Spirit use us to show others the love that Jesus has for them. Let them see that they matter to God and they matter to us. Amen