Genesis 4:2b-9b – NIV
If we want God’s favor on our lives, we must do what is right. In the Genesis story about Cain and Abel we have the perfect story and example of this.
We are told in verse 2b-4a “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.”
Cain, it says, only brought “some” of his fruits as an offering to God. It does not say that it was the best of his harvest – it was just “some”. But Abel brought his offering from his firstborn – this would be the first fruits – the best.
When Cain became angry that his offering was not pleasing to God, he was told by God in no uncertain terms in verse 7 “’If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.’”
I believe Cain very likely conspired, for some reason, to keep the best of his crop for himself. Why I can only guess. But he obviously gave no thought to the fact that he was not doing what God had commanded of them and thought he could pull a fast one.
Abel on the other hand, knew what he was supposed to do and did it. He was rewarded with the full approval of his heavenly Father.
We can further see the evil nature of Cain (the sin crouching at his door) when he lured his brother Abel out into the field where he attacked and killed him. Then he had the audacity to lie to God when he was asked where is brother was – spouting the cocky response that we read in verse 9b “’I don’t know…Am I my brother’s keeper?’” He is fortunate that he was not struck down by lightning right on that spot!
How often do we do things halfway, just trying to skate by? We know we did not give it our all and that the result was not our best. But, we will then sometimes rationalize and compare ourselves to others, thinking that at least we did something which is “more than they did.”
I have done that and I am sure that at some time, most of us have. But I also know that I did not feel good about it vs. how I felt when I took on a job, gave it everything and ended up with the best results possible.
I have always had a lot of pride in a job well done and was self-motivated and enjoyed feeling successful. But perfect I was/am not. We can disappoint ourselves and we can disappoint others, but we should never short-change God and disappoint Him as did Cain. We know what is right – and if we are not certain about it – we should find out the answer before proceeding.
What we need to realize is that we should not compare ourselves to others and expect that the results will be what they should be. We need to always do all we can, to be all we can be. It should not matter if we are dealing with our family, our employer, our friends, our church, even strangers – we should always just do our best and do what is right. Our hearts desire should always be to please our Father.
Written by Karran Martin