Most days, as part of our school day, Isaac and I do a bible study or devotional. Recently we read Genesis 4:1-7. It’s the story of Cain and Abel. In the scripture it reads “Cain brought some of his harvest and gave it as an offering to the Lord. Abel too, brought an offering: the first-born lamb of one of his sheep.”
Prior to reading this scripture I had been struggling, reaching out to God, but feeling as if I was being held at an arms length. But, as I read it with Isaac, one word stood out as if it was written in neon letters…”some”. Cain brought “some” of his harvest and gave it to the Lord. And if you know the story, then you know that his offering was found to be lacking. It was lacking to such an extent that the Lord refused to accept it.
How many times have I come before the Lord with “some” of me. How many times have I read my bible, gone to church, or prayed as a part of my routine, and not from my heart. God was giving me a message – loud and clear. He doesn’t want my half-hearted measures – he wants ALL of me! My feelings of distance and being kept at arms length suddenly made so much sense.
Absolutely I believe that God wants a relationship with all of us. But I also feel as if at some point in the development of that relationship he calls us to step up. We can’t hold anything back from God. He wants us to acknowledge that everything we have comes from him. That’s what Abel did. That is the reason that his offering was acceptable and Cain’s wasn’t. Abel said “look at this beautiful, first-born lamb. If not for God, I would not have this blessing. I will, I must give it to him.” In contrast, Cain said “I worked hard for all of this food, I gave the sweat off my brow, the ache in my back. I’ll give something of what I have earned to God because I should.
How many times in my own life can I see Abel? How many more times do I see Cain? God wants to fill our lives with blessings. It is part of the reason Jesus taught us to pray “give us this day our daily bread.” But we also need to surrender our pride, our insistence on self-reliance and acknowledge that truly “all things come of thee, and of thine own, have we given thee.”
The world of 2020 wants you to believe that you are responsible for you. But I want you to pause for a moment and consider the idea that a worldly view, puts you in Cain’s position. You’ve heard the quote, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present.” Each day is indeed a gift – from our Lord and when we come to him…when I come to him, I want to come to him like Abel…appreciating his blessings and giving him my very best.
This week Isaac and I have tried to keep the idea of giving God our best as our focus, and I think that it has brought each of us into a closer communion with him. Are you giving God the best you have to offer?