Have you ever given a gift to someone that cost you a lot?
It may have cost you a lot financially or it might have cost a lot of your time or effort to get it. Have you ever given anything to God that cost you something?
We read in Genesis 4 about Cain and Abel bringing a gift to God. God is pleased with Abel’s gift but not Cains. When we take a closer look at what both of these brothers brought, we begin to get a picture of why God rejected Cain’s gift.
When it was time for the harvest Cain took some of his crops and offered them as a gift or offering to the Lord. So, at the time when Cain had plenty – the time of harvest, Cain took some of that produce and offered it to God.
We read that Abel bought the best portions of the firstborn lambs of his flock to God. Abel did indeed bring the best portion of those lambs. Some translations say the fat portions. To understand the significance of this we need to take a look at Leviticus 3:14-17. We read that the fat portions of the sacrificial animal belong to the Lord.
Unlike today where we try to avoid fat back in those times the fat was a prized piece of an animal. When God instructed Israel that the fat from around the organs was to be dedicated to Him that was a big sacrifice for the people. It’s also interesting to see that Abel offers his lambs as a sacrifice. He didn’t choose the older sheep, instead, he chose the first-born lambs. Lambs are very valuable. They receive a high price. They are also needed for breeding to continue to grow the flock. Yet Abel chose those prised first-born lambs and gave the best portion of them to God.
So how do these sacrifices speak to us today? Well thankfully we don’t need to offer sacrifices to atone for the sin in our lives. Thanks to our precious Lord Jesus Christ we have been cleansed of all unrighteousness through the power of His blood.
This passage caused me to consider what I am offering to God on a daily basis. In Romans 12:1 Paul pleads that we will offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. This is in response to all Jesus has done and as true worship to God.
But Cain and Abel’s story takes things a little further. I think we can do all sorts of things that are Dodly. Read our bible, go to church, attend homegroups, and serve. Just like Cain, we can give out time and energy when and where it is convenient for us. But how many of these things do we do are really are a sacrifice for us. Has my offering to God come at a price for me or has it been all too convenient?
How many times do we read our bible and pray when it suits us and for how long it suits us? How many times do we only help others when we have the extra time or cash to do so? How many times do we actually make a sacrifice as part of our worship to God?
Abel’s gift pleased the Lord because Abel brought his best. It cost him greatly and took faith to deliver it. Abel had just offered God all his lambs that meant there was no new stock till the next lot of lambs were born. Abel had faith that God would look after him as he stepped out in obedience. Offering Abel-like sacrifices requires faith. Because the cost is high it takes us stepping out in faith to make it and that faith pleases God.
What gift can we offer God today that costs us something and that requires us to step out in faith to give it to God?
Lord, I’m sorry for the times I have given You what is easy and convenient for me instead of giving You the first and best. Please show me ways I can give good gifts to You today. Amen