Beloved Brothers and Sisters-in Christ,
In the earliest annals in the history of man, we see a tale of two offerings, one which was accepted and the other which was despised. We would be wise to consider this carefully on many fronts.
This story refers of course to Cain and Abel, the brothers, of whom Cain was the eldest and husbandman and Abel the shepherd. We remember the emotional conclusion of the story and feel sorry for Cain, who has become a vagabond upon the earth. But what led to this?
In the Book of Genesis we see the two brothers going about their daily tasks. They would offer a sacrifice to our Lord from among their fruits – Cain from the increase of his fields and Abel from the increase of his flock. The events surrounding Cain’s sacrifice are forever set before us as a clear example for how we should NOT make an offering to the Lord.
Let’s look closer at the events from the Fourth Chapter of Genesis:
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. `6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.
Cain’s sacrifice was not acceptable to the Lord. Cain toiled in the fields, realizing the Lord’s very words:
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…
It is sad that Cain chose the lesser part. He did not make a sincere offering to the Lord. It should be apparent to us that this is not an example of the quantity of the offering, but rather the quality of the offering. Truly the scripture is fulfilled daily in each of us: if thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. Without any doubt, holding back and resisting to make our best offering does open the door to sin and sin bursts forth upon us like a heavy rain.
Many are the examples in the sacred scriptures that teach us how to make an acceptable offering to our Lord. No longer do we offer a sacrifice of bullocks upon Thine altar, o Lord; but let our prayers be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of our hands as an evening sacrifice. What we do in our Lord’s house, we do unto our Lord. What we do unto the least of our brethren, we do unto our Lord.
May our works, our words, and our prayers be acceptable for a sweet savour before the LORD.