My husband is guest blogging this week! I’m so excited to share his words of wisdom. He recently taught our Sunday School class at church, and he shared what he’d been learning about what we give to God. Here is “The Cain Effect”, written by Chris Givens.
A race has a starting point and a finish line. Some runners start strong but do not finish well, while others tend to start slowly, gain endurance and finish well. What happens in between the two points is what’s important…it’s a test of endurance.
With this test in mind, I’ve been thinking about giving my best, my all. Throughout the entire race.
I’ve been thinking about two brothers from the Old Testament.
They were Cain and Abel.
Two Different Offerings
“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 4:3-5
We see two very different offerings here. Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord… “Lord, here are my leftovers…my effortless, sub par, worthless gifts to you.”
It’s like getting a Christmas present that you know the person re-gifted because they did not want it! You know what I’m talking about: trying to look excited about a dusty decorative candle or a reindeer mug!
No one likes leftovers as much as the real thing.
So why do we think God would be satisfied with our leftovers?
Now Abel also brought a gift. He brought the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. This reminds me of Someone else who gave us His best…
His best – God gave His best for us when He gave Jesus.
The firstborn – God’s firstborn and only Son Jesus was who He sent as a sacrifice for us.
The Lamb – In John 1:29, John the Baptist says “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’”
The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.
The Lord did not accept Cain and his gift.
Which Offering is My Offering?
What am I offering to the Lord? Am I giving Him my first moments, my best talents and efforts? Or am I just giving Him what’s leftover at the end of the day, at the end of the week? Just on Sunday, or whenever I feel like it?
“While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. ’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.’”Luke 21:1-4
Here in the New Testament, we see two different offerings again. The rich gave a small portion of their extras as an offhanded offering. Hardly a sacrifice. Jesus said “For they have given a tiny part of their surplus.”
They seemed to be living under the Cain Effect.
And then there was the poor widow. Jesus said “But she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” She gave her all, her best.
A total sacrifice.
Just like Jesus.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1: 18-19
The word ransom is defined as “a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.”
We, the prisoners, were bought at a full price. Jesus gave everything he had to pay for our sin and to give us eternal life. In light of this, how can we be comfortable living and giving under the Cain Effect?
I want to give like Abel. I want to give like the widow. I want to give my all.
Even when it hurts.
I want to give like Jesus, who gave it all for me.