“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. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering…”
– Genesis 4:2-4
Many of you are familiar with the story of Cain and Abel. In addition to teaching us some things about our hearts, I believe this account teaches us some important lessons about our attitudes towards our work.
As you may recall, Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd of some sort — those were their jobs. Cain brought a selection from his groves and trees before the Lord as an offering and Abel brought the fatted portions of his flock. While we don’t know the exact details, the Bible says that God rejected Cain’s offering but that He accepted Abel’s. Naturally, this evokes a lot of questions, and one of the biggest is why did God accept one offering and not the other? Thankfully, the text offers some clues.
Scripture says that Abel’s offering was the fatted portions; in other words, the most expensive parts. Today, it would be like saying that he brought the filet mignons before the Lord, not the flank steak! Abel gave the most valuable, sellable, worthwhile, and delicious parts to God, and this pleased Him. On the contrary, it doesn’t appear that Cain put much thought into what he gave; he didn’t specifically look for the best apples or the sweetest cherries, he just picked something at random and brought it to the altar. While it probably wasn’t his worst, it also wasn’t his best; he brought his leftovers and his brother brought his very finest!
Friend, I encourage you to view your work as an offering to the Lord and to live in the spirit and attitude of Abel. When you get up and go to work, give Jesus your very best, not your leftovers. Take care of your mind, body, and heart so you can face each day with a full tank, ready to bring your skills and talents to the altar with a willingness to use them to the fullest for the glory of God. As you do, you will be blessed with the unique satisfaction that results from a job well-done!
Thank you, Jesus, for the privilege I have of bringing you my very best. I want my work to be an act of worship that pleases you.
In your attitude towards work, do you identify more with Cain’s offering or with Abel’s? Why?
Dear Pastor Bobby and Hannah,
Thank you for your dedication to our Lord and for sharing your gifts and talents with so many.
Your music is always phenomenal! What a worship ministry.
your interpretation of Cain and Abel is very helpful.
Again, thank you for Shepherd’s Grove!
Thank you for the encouragement, Lauriv! We are so glad that God is working in your life through this ministry and we are thankful for your support. God loves you and so do we!