Cain

Ride Along: Abel (Pt 2)

At this point in the Ride Along, Abel would remind us not only to give God our best, but he would also encourage us to stay in our lane.

Here we have Cain and Abel, brothers who are in two different lines of work, but they are both using their resources to bring an offering to God. One is a farmer and one is a shepherd. Cain has a lane. Abel has a lane.  God designed you with some certain talents, abilities, and gifts. He has designed us to fit best in a lane as we run the race of life. 

Paul puts it this way, “We are all many members, and all members of one body. The body of Christ consist of many members.” The eye can’t say I don’t need you and walk away from the rest of the body and still function in excellence as an eye.  Likewise, a foot can’t will itself to be a brain. Each member of your body has its function and purpose and WE have our function and purpose as a part of the body of Christ. But, we all need to work together in our best-designed roles.  We need to stay in our lane and not compare our gift to someone else. 

Cain was so focused on Abel and his offering, he couldn’t give God his best. He was so obsessed with Abel and his offering, he thought it better to kill Abel so God’s standard would be lowered.  Cain wanted to get Abel out of the picture so his gift would be regarded, instead of bringing God is best and staying in his lane. Then the ground he works for a living is cursed, and he has to be a fugitive and wander the earth. One of the saddest scriptures is Genesis 4:16, “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod (which means wandering) east of Eden.”   

Abel would encourage us to stay in our lane. He would say don’t stop running to look and compare yourself to anyone else.  We are meant to run along side each other in unity. Our lanes are going to look different, but we are better in our diversity.   He would say we don’t have the same gifts and talents, but we all can give God our best when we stay in our lane.   

 Preparing and preaching sermons are a part of my lane. When I first started preparing sermons I began to compare myself to other preachers.  I would write something and say, “That doesn’t sound as good as (Insert Name).” I stayed in this mode of comparison and I would get nowhere.  The Holy Spirit gently turned my head to focus back on Jesus and He reminded me that I was fearfully and wonderfully made and that if God wanted a replica of another pastor, he would have made one himself. 

 “But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” - 2 Corinthians 10:12b

What does your lane look like? Where has God designed you to be your best and to give your best to him? God wants to reveal His purposes for you to you.  He doesn’t wish to hide His will from you. What does your lane look like?  We all have skills. We all have talents. We all have something to contribute as an offering to the Father. We all have a lane to run in, but we have to make the choice right now to give God our best. We have to decide that we are not going to use others to measure our success. We have to decide to run the race of life free from the sin of comparison. Are you ready to give God your best and stay in your lane?

 

Ride Along: Abel (Pt 1)

Sadly, Abel’s story isn’t very long, but what he can teach us in a Ride Along is extremely valuable.  Abel would encourage us to give God your best and stay in your lane.  Take a look at Abel’s story in Genesis 4:2 – 10.

So why does the story of Abel matter to us? There is a phrase in Hebrews 11:4 that I can’t seem to get out of my spirit, “…though he died, he still speaks.” The story of Abel matters to us because God said that he still speaks and we need to listen.   

It’s pretty obvious that these brothers didn’t get along very well.  They had their differences and similarities like most siblings do. They were from the same parents, they were both bringing an offering to the Lord. We know that Abel was a Shepherd and Cain was a Gardener. Also, we know that Cain was a murderer and Abel was not.

All of us have similarities and differences and God gets the most glory when they all come together for His purpose.  All of us have something to give, some talent, some resource to offer to the Father.  We decide what that “offering” is on a daily basis.  

Abel decided that his offering was going to be the firstborn of his flock and the fat portions.  Abel gave God the first and best of his flock and the fat portions. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground. Most of us would celebrate Cain and his effort and say, “Good for Cain, he brought something.”  But, we look at the text and we see that Cain didn’t bring the first and best of the ground, he just brought an offering of the fruit on the ground.

Abel would tell us that we need to give God our best.  There might be a temptation to give God your seconds or even your scraps or what might be normal, but don’t settle to give God just a good gift-- give God your best.  There will be rough years where it feels like all your resources are running thin, but still give God your best because He deserves your best in whatever you do, whatever you say and in whatever resources you are equipped to steward – God deserves your best.  

Not only does God deserve your best; He requires it.  Don’t hear me wrong, there is a difference between attempting to give God your very best and falling short – God has grace for us in that situation.  However, God does not have grace for us when we knowingly keep the best for ourselves and offer Him our seconds. God had regard for Abel’s offering, but God had NO regard for Cain’s offering. The word regard here means, “To formally accept or look upon.” God formally accepted and looked at Abel’s offering because Abel gave God his best.  God formally rejected and looked away from Cain’s offerings because Cain knew that he didn’t bring his best offering to God.   

We know that Cain knew he didn’t bring his best because of what God says to Cain in Genesis 4:6&7.