Summary: This message was part two of a stewardship series and looks at Cain's response to Abel's offering
Cain and Abel
So here we are. Week two of Money Month! In case you weren’t here last week or if you are new to Cornerstone I made a decision a number of years ago that instead of responding to financial crisis in the church by preaching on them that I would take one month each year and develop a theology of giving. That if you could handle me preaching on stewardship for three or four Sundays each April I would leave you alone the rest of the year.
Now I’m sure some of you are thinking “Why do you have to speak about money at all?” Because it’s an important topic. Moses spoke about it, David spoke about it, Solomon spoke about it, most of the prophets spoke about it, the New Testament authors spoke about it and Jesus spoke a lot about money. How we make it and how we spend it . So we can’t arbitrarily not speak about it. I guess in the truest sense a church could operate without money, if you were willing to meet in your living room and not have a paid pastoral staff, but I think to truly worship God there would need to be a financial element, even if it meant you gave to give it away. Because from the very beginning of time worship has contained an element of sacrifice.
And really it’s not about money it’s about how we deal with our money, and our time and our talents. Jesus told us in Matthew 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. And basically that means that our treasures, whatever they might be, are a barometer of our spiritual condition. That if we want to see what is important in someone’s life than we need to look at what their treasures are, what they do to obtain their treasures, what they do with their treasures after they have them and where they keep their treasures.
So our theme this month is “Treasures of the Heart”
So we are going to start by going back, way back, back to the beginning of the story of man.
The scripture that was read this morning is a portion of a full passage about faith, and the heroes of faith as recorded in the Old Testament. A veritable “Faith hall of Fame”, you had to be pretty special to get into this group. And in particular we are looking at the first inductee. Hebrews 11:4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
Maybe you know the story and maybe you don’t, so let’s highlight it for you.
It’s a story of two brothers, Cain the older brother was a farmer, he toiled in the dirt and raised crops, his younger brother, Abel, was a shepherd, and he raised sheep. And by all indications they were good at what they did. They were the first children of Adam and Eve after they had been expelled from the Garden for disobeying God.
Now I know everyone is sitting there thinking “I wonder who they married?” Well we really don’t know do we? Maybe God created more people, that would be an interesting theory wouldn’t it. Bible doesn’t say Adam and Eve were the only, just the first? Or the other option is that Adam and Eve had more children and the siblings married each other. You understand that there were no genetic flaws at the point in history; they were only one generation from creation, no time for the gene pool to get a little murky. The reason that siblings marrying one another has been prohibited through the years is that there are all kinds of problems associated with their children, but that close to creation there were no genetic problems that would be amplified in that situation. It will be interesting to see what happens in our culture when a brother and sister want to get married. What would societies’ answer be? “It’s wrong.” And the response would be “But who says it’s wrong?” That was just an aside.
So where were we? Oh right, the two brothers and they both offered a sacrifice to their God, we don’t know exactly what all their sacrifices involved or didn’t involve. The writer of Hebrews makes this statement: Hebrews 11:4 It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did.
Well the story continues, the scriptures tell us that God found Abel’s offering acceptable but didn’t accept Cain’s. And that ticked Cain off, and he reacted by killing his brother. Took him out in the field and attacked him and stole his life.