In Genesis 4, the brothers Cain and Abel brought separate offerings to God. Abel’s offering was pleasing to God, but Cain’s was not. Instead of owning up to his failure, Cain responded in anger, jealousy, and ultimately murderous rage against his brother.
This chapter reveals conversation between Cain and God so it would seem that there was relationship, perhaps even a good relationship so how did we go from relationship with the Almighty God to murdering one’s brother?
- Why did Cain provide an offering that wasn’t acceptable?
- Why instead of repentance did Cain double-down on sin and go so far as to kill his brother?
- Why would Cain think that God wouldn’t see his crime?
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”Genesis 4:7
For me the aforementioned verse is a warning that one sin leads to another. Somehow Cain’s priorities became misaligned then he sinned and sinned again.
How can we make sure to avoid the same mistakes as Cain as we give?
- Prayer. Lord, reveal to me my own heart and shortcomings. Reveal my selfishness. Shape me to understand that the amount of the gift means nothing when compared to the intent of my heart. May this gift be pleasing to you.
- Remembrance and thanksgiving. Meditating on what He has done and what he’s promised. He’s given us so much by loving us first even though we are sinners and then eliminating the penalty of death that we deserve. God gave his only son, Jesus gave his life. Does our gift reflect gratitude for these gifts?
- Repentance. For the times when we gave and wanted to feel good about ourselves rather than truly giving to His Kingdom out of sacrifice. For times when we may have given out of self-glorification. We always reap the reward we seek. 2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:2)
- Acknowledgment that we cannot keep anything from God who “sees in secret”. 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:4)
- Foresight. We likely will not be able to comprehend the impacts of our giving until we get to Heaven. Perhaps one day we will come face to face with someone who was hungry, sick, lonely, poor, and unreached and we will have some knowledge that our commitment impacted their eternity. What a beautiful day that will be!