Read: Genesis 4:1-16
There is jealousy, perhaps sibling rivalry between Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam and Eve. Have you ever wondered why Abel’s offering was more acceptable to the Lord than his brother Cain’s offering? I have.
In Hebrews 11, in the New Testament, the author recounts the lives of people of remarkable faith. Verse 4 says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks.
”I am still led to wonder, what made Abel’s offering more acceptable to God than Cain’s offering? Does God like meat more than fruits and veggies? Unfortunately we are not told. Was it that Abel gave willingly or joyfully, from his heart while Cain gave out of obligation? Maybe, God knows the heart. There is a spiritual truth, a stewardship principle, in which an offering willingly given is more acceptable than one given from obligation (2Corinthians 9:7). That may be part of the answer.
There is another clue, it comes from Genesis 4:3-5,
“3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
The Hebrew word translated “course” in v.3 commonly means “the end of” as in the end of the growing season or “after”. That suggests that Cain gave God what was left over after the harvest. Verse 4 tells us specifically that Abel gave “of the firstlings of his flock”. Does it make a difference? Yes. Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “9 Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
The spiritual truth revealed is that when we give to God first it is out of faith more so than when we give God what is left over. Faithful stewardship is an important part of our spiritual health.
Pastor Rob Nystrom