” 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.” (Hebrews 11:4 NIV)
I have been pondering this verse for a couple of weeks. I must admit that I usually look at the story of Cain and Abel, in Genesis 4, in a different light than faith. I have seen Abel giving the “best” of his flock out of love, and Cain bringing “some” of his fruits indicating a lesser love or devotion. This is likely a part of what is going on, but the Hebrew writer says it is really an issue of faith.
Abel brings the beset of his flock, and many shepherds would want to reserve the best for breeding in the future. Abel fully trusts in the God who gave him the flock to be supply all he would need in the future. Cain seems to bring only “some” of his fruits, which indicates it being like serving “leftovers”, as my wife put it to our kids group. When we start to look at this in a deeper way we see that Abel’s gift is commended, because he really did have faith and trust in God.
Many people struggle to give freely to God, some even in giving to help someone in need. When they think about giving away their hard earned money, even a small part of it, fear or resentment can settle in. It is much easier to give out of the leftovers, or the overflow when we have been given extra than to give out of faith. When we look one verse earlier in Hebrews 11, to verse 3, we see the reminder that believers know God created the universe by our faith. If we can believe God provided the world for us, then we should be able to believe that he can continue to provide for our needs.
Let’s not just give out of the leftovers of our lives, but learn to give in faith. Let us give freely, because we know our trust is in God who blesses freely.
Blessings on your journey with Jesus.