Last week, Pastor Brian’s New Year’s message centered on getting into “The Book.” For me, reading the Bible isn’t my issue; it’s understanding the deeper message and/or actually remembering what I’ve just read.
This year I decided to embrace my “Google-y-ness” (from the movie The Internship) to help me dive deeper into God’s Word. For years, the story of Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis has bothered me. I’ve always wondered why God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, but yet was pleased with Abel’s offering? I tend to have a standard go-to excuse with the Bible: “I’m just not that good at studying!”
Thank goodness for the Internet and Bible apps!
I learned that, of course, God is sovereign and owes none of us an explanation for why He does what He does. But, perhaps God rejected Cain’s sacrifice because Cain didn’t bring his very best. His offering was of poor quality, and he likely had a bad attitude about giving. Abel, on the other hand, brought the best and the first fruits of what he had to offer.*
An offering is not limited to merely money. We can offer our time, our praise and worship, prayer, encouragement, or our gifts and talents. The list is endless. The point isn’t what we offer, but rather, the condition of our heart when we give.
God knows our motivation for giving. He knows when we’re giving sacrificially; giving to impress others or giving out of guilt or fear. God sees our heart.
A little self-reflection helped me to see that, like Cain, I’ve been guilty of giving for the wrong reasons. I’ve given out of guilt or pressure and when I was secretly hoping to get something in return. I’ve been a real Cain.
I don’t believe in resolutions, but I believe there’s nothing wrong with continual self-improvement. In order for me to start 2020 on a more positive path, I’m hoping to learn to “walk without a Cain” attitude or mentality and give MY BEST. I want to offer the best of my money, my time, my gifts and talents, ALL unconditionally to God.
With the availability of today’s technology, there is no reason to claim ignorance with regards to the Bible. We shouldn’t settle on one singular explanation, but be willing to dig deeper to gain a better understanding.
We can walk into the New Year using a Cain attitude, or we can walk Cain-free and dive into The Book by rolling up our sleeves and putting in some effort.
How about YOU? How’s your walk?
“Why are you so angry?” the LORD asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT)
Blessings in Christ,
*https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_714.cfm (Don Stewart)