A person can give in many different ways. We can give things, money etc. We can give our time and our talents. Were can give compliments and words. We can give care and chances. We can give to God, others and even ourselves.
Does what and how we give matter to God? I think it does. One of the first passages of the Bible is found in Genesis 4 and brings the account of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. These two brothers brought God an offering.
When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.Genesis 4:2-5
Both of these brothers brought to God the labor of their hands. Sometimes I read this story and I’m tempted to think “that’s not fair”. Cain only brought what he was growing, how was he supposed to know that God preferred meat to veggies? There’s no record of God saying that only a sacrifice of animals was pleasing. It seems that something is missing.
We know later on that God actually accepted “grain offerings” in the temple, what about Cain’s offering wasn’t acceptable? I believe it was the attitude of his heart as he brought them and not just what he brought. Abel brought the “best portions” and Cain brought “some”.
Abel’s offerings cost his something. Cain brought something that naturally replenishes itself every season. The animals that Abel gave laid down their life to be a sacrifice. He brought the best animals, the firstborn ones. He didn’t bring leftovers.
We want an Abel blessing with a Cain sacrifice.
If we want our gifts to be accepted by God we need to give in the right manner.
- Bring the best. Whether its financially or volunteering on a team we must bring our best to God. Don’t bring your leftovers to God, bring the best.
- Give sacrificially. What you bring should cost you something. If it doesn’t it’s not a gift, its a token.
- Guard your heart. Cain eventually killed his brother because of his anger. Only you can control your attitude when giving of your time, talent and treasure.