Post 68 Lessons from Cain and Able

                First, you need to know that both Cain and Able brought a gift to God from the work that they did.  One was accepted and one was rejected.  But why?  What we give to God matters.  Is it our best or just a token somehow?  It didn’t tell us in the story that the two brothers didn’t get along.  But this story of these two brothers impacts our lives today. 

                The lesson was a lesson of right and wrong, envy and hate.  Both gave, but one gave the right and one gave wrong.  What we give to the Lord matters.  Do we give Him our best or do we give Him maybe the leftovers or what we think is okay? 

                The story of Cain and Able in the book of Genesis is the first murder on this earth.  It has lessons for us today in this story.  We need to study this story to see how it impacts our lives today.  One, what we give makes a difference. Two, Don’t envy others…you do your best!  God knows what you are capable of.  You are not here to compare yourself to anyone else.  Three, there is always a right way to do things and a wrong way. Four, there are always consequences for bad actions.  They might not come right away, but eventually, they do come.  Five, you can and need to, do the right things.  You are the one who daily makes many choices.  Think about what you do and make the right choice, the godly choice.

                The difference in gifts can be powerful.  Before I go there I want to say something.  How many gifts have you given in your life to someone you cared about?  Did you give it with your heart making the right choice with a good heart?  How we see a gift we give is not always what the person who receives it sees.  What is our intention in the gift we gave?  When we receive a gift are we thankful?  Did we take the time to even consider that the person who gave a gift gave it with good intentions and a good heart?  Maybe it was not what you wanted, but did you accept that gift with thanksgiving or ill feelings?  Do you sometimes wonder that (take Christmas or birthdays for instance) you went out and purchased a gift you felt was right for someone and you spent your hard-earned money on that gift, you took it home and you wrapped it…yet when you gave it they didn’t appreciate it or even thank you for it. 

                I remember growing up if someone gave me something I was told I needed to be thankful because they took the time to give me something. Didn’t matter what it was…be thankful.  The person giving the gift took time to get it.  (We didn’t have amazon etc to just click a button and Wala it was there)  No, someone took the time to shop for us.  What they saw for us might not have been what we wanted or even needed, but they took the time.  Be thankful.  My mom always said that when we received something to be grateful and thank them.  I don’t see this hardy ever nowadays.  I have seen a lot of kids out there, and even their parents…throw a fit because they didn’t get what they wanted. (That wasn’t what I wanted, that wasn’t the color I wanted, I hate that gift, that is so dumb, I wanted….) So now back to the lesson…what do you think God sees when we give Him something?  What was our intention in giving? 

                So now, take a closer look at the gifts Cain and Able gave to God.  What were their intentions?  Why was one acceptable and one was not? In Genesis 4:3, it says “When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord” (NLT). At first, it might not seem like anything was wrong with what Cain presented but after reading the description of Abel’s gift we see a difference. In verse 4, it says “Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock.” (NLT).

Note the difference in how Abel’s gift was described. Abel’s gift was the “best portions” of the “firstborn” lambs. On the other hand, Cain presented “some” of his crops.  Is that a “big deal”?  Well, yeah to God Almighty it was.  It is the intentions behind the gift that matters.  One didn’t care about the gift he gave.  He gave what seemed like okay, while the other gave the best portion. 


                How are we to give?  Whose example should we follow?  It is not the size of the gift so let me be clear on that.  It is the intention of the heart that matters most to God.  Maybe we all were “Cain” givers prior, but we should be working on being “Able” givers now.  What we give, no matter how small a gift it might be, matters.  If we give a gift of any size with a heart of good intentions, then God accepts that gift.  Think about the people, for a moment, that were going into the temple and the rich gave of their leftovers, while the lady dropped in three coins with a good heart.  God accepted hers and put it in the Bible as an example for each of us.  Give with a good heart. You learn to be an “Able” giver.


                So next we need to understand that what we give as our best is different for each person who gives.  To a rich person let’s say gave a thousand dollars to whatever “it is” (their leftovers).  Then you come along and all you can give is one dollar…with a good heart in giving that gift…does God see you or your gift as being less?  No, God always looks at the heart of the giver.  On the surface so, someone looking at the size of the gift might even think what a “Cheapskate” you are.  But thank God that God saw your heart for it is not the man we must please but God.


                Don’t envy other people.  So what do they have more that they can give?  So what if the person they gave it to thinks more highly of the more expensive gift than yours…so what?  It is not the man you have to please but God.  Don’t envy what others can do, what they buy, where they go, or anything else.  You must be true to God and that is what matters.  Human nature is a crazy thing, especially in our society.  We care more for what others do than what we do with a good heart.  So what if someone is rich, famous, and better at something than you are?  This goes with just about everything in life nowadays.  Better homes, better cars, more money in the bank, a nice house, and the list is endless.  Yet, we don’t see them as God does.  Each of us is a work in progress.  What we do with what we have and are thankful for in life is far better than being rich and famous and having no heart for people.  Now, know this… many great people are rich or even famous, and what they do with a heart that pleases God.  You are you.  You stay true to God.  You do what is right in life for life is a training spot for heaven. 


                There is always a right and wrong way to do things.  Stop!  Stop and think about each thing you do and then choose to do right even if you are the only one doing it.  You will never please a man because mankind doesn’t see what God does.   So you have a non-glamorous job in life (in your opinion), but it is honest work, and you do it as unto doing it for God…you will be rewarded one day.  Sometimes things seem to be one way but are rea off from being right.  Cain and Able had two different views of right and wrong.  One chose right and one chose wrong.  Able lost his life.  This is the first murder in the Bible.  Cain chose wrong and there were consequences.  Some for him then, and some that will come later.  I lost a child and I can tell you the heartache it caused and still causes.  I can look at the first parents here and think what did they feel?  How did they take it when their son killed their firstborn?  We don’t hear what they felt in the Bible, but I can imagine. 


All of us respond to things differently.  We all see our situation differently. Take Cain and Able.  Able went to God with his best offering.  He wanted to please God, but Ables’s gift didn’t please his brother Cain.  Cain was jealous/envious of Abel’s gift.  How dare God accept Ables’s gift and not mine.  Cain didn’t go to God and ask why He wouldn’t accept his gift. Instead of finding out what the right thing is, in life, we often experiment possibly to how far we can go with something.  There is always a choice and the right way to choose. 

Cain killed Able and it was time for a punishment.  In Genesis 4:11-12 God told Cain, “Now you are cursed and banished from the ground, which has swallowed your brother’s blood. No longer will the ground yield good crops for you, no matter how hard you work! From now on you will be a homeless wanderer on the earth”.  Genesis 4:11-12 NLT.  Whoa! Can you now imagine what Cain was feeling?  But to us today, we know right and wrong, and there is an effect a thing called “the law of cause and effect”.  In other words, bad choices in life have consequences in some form.  An example of this is smoking…you do it and for quite a while you can have health, but one day you wake up and you can’t breathe well, or you come down with cancer from the choice you made to smoke.  It can be drinking, it can be eating, it can be living with someone you are not married to, or it can be doing anything you know is wrong in the sight of God that you chose to do.  Think before you do something.  (If I do this what will the consequences be for my actions?)


We might not like the choices before us each day.  Some are easy to choose to do or not do, while others don’t want to go there and do whatever it is.  We have the power to choose right or wrong in each situation.  Every day we make thousands of choices. God accepts us and our choice if it is right and godly.  If we choose wrong then, at some point, there will be consequences of some sort.  In the story of Cain and Able, we see that Cain was angry.  Why?  Was he angry at Able or was he angry at God?  Was he angry he didn’t get recognition for his gift?  Was that gift given with a good heart?  Why blame and kill his brother because his brother chose right? We don’t know Cain’s heart…but God did.  God saw all of Cains’s heart.  God would have accepted Cain’s gift if Cain had done it with a good heart.  Instead, he chose to be angry and kill his brother.  Sin is always at the door of one’s heart ready to pounce. I have never understood anyone murdering anyone.  To take one’s life is foreign to my soul.  Yet, I am so glad that God sees the truth, the why, the why not, and God is the dealer of judgment, not me.  I, however, if someone was going to harm my family or any of my loved ones…in a heartbeat I would do whatever it would take to protect them and that includes killing them if there was no other way.  If they chose to harm my loved ones then I would have no choice but to stand against them.  I don’t want sin at my door.  I don’t want to make the wrong choices any longer in my life.  I did enough of that.   Then back to Cain and Able here…Cain was not doing something to protect his family.  He was jealous and lashed out.  I don’t ever want that to be me.  I don’t always agree with others or family for that matter, but I have no ill that will make me want to lash out and harm them.  We do enough harm to those we love without even knowing it. 


I know that I need God in my life every moment of every day.  I need Him to guide my steps, keep me from wrong choices, and help me do the right thing even if that right thing would have others to hate or harm me.   I know my redeemer lives.  The best choice I ever made in my life was to ask Jesus into my life.  As hard as I try to surrender everything to Him, sometimes I wonder if there are any cubbies still on holdout.  I want a clear conscience with my Lord.  I want a daily surrender to Him and Him to walk right next to me.  I need Him.  I no longer want to make the wrong choices in life.  I find, on thinking about Cain and Able and their life there are many lessons we can learn from their story.  God didn’t just toss that in the Bible for no reason.  The lesson is for each of us to think on and for us to change so that each morning we get up there is new grace and mercy, and that each day we make godly choices over mankind’s choices.  To do right is godly.  May I make all godly choices this day?