S21P1 – Portraits of faith: Abel
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
Abel’s story is told in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Although the chronicle of his life lasts for only eight verses, packed into this small section is a valuable lesson on faith. What we read is that both Abel and his brother Cain offered sacrifices to the Lord. Cain’s sacrifice is described as some of the fruits of the soil. Notice that he did not sacrifice his firstfruits. Abel’s sacrifice is described as the fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The disparity in offerings here is not unnoticed. While Abel has offered the best of his lot to the Lord, Cain’s offering was not his best and therefore did not please God.
We can never hear enough lessons about the faith it takes for one to give back to God what already rightfully belongs to him. In this instance, we see that exercising faith in God’s provision and sacrificing to him in a manner pleasing to him brings favor. While explaining to Cain why his offering was not satisfactory, God makes a clear point. If you do what is good, you will be accepted. This acceptance is the favor of God. We have got to give him our best as He has given his best to us. Did our father not send his only begotten son as a sacrifice so that we might be saved?
While the story of Abel’s life is short and ends tragically, the lesson to be learned is of great value even today. This is a story of faith and obedience in offering of oneself to God in a holy and pleasing manner. This is a story of doing good for the purposes of God and having that sacrifice accepted as pleasing to him. Father, teach us to offer You the best of what we have so that our sacrifices may be pleasing to You, whether finances, time or our physical selves.