You remember the story of Cain and Abel, no doubt. At least, you remember how it ended, in the world’s first murder. But how did it begin? Where was the root of the festering anger that took hold of Cain?

Cain and Abel had different ways of doing things, according to Genesis 4. Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. It came time to offer a sacrifice to God, and both men did so. Cain brought “some of the fruits of the soil” as an offering to the Lord. Sounds sort of casual to me; he went out and picked some stuff, threw it in a basket, and dumped it on the altar.

But Abel brought only the best, fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. He brought the first fruits of his efforts. It’s hard to bring the first fruits of anything, because you don’t know for sure whether there will be more. It’s taking a risk, and that’s what Abel did. Not only that, but he brought the best he had.

God was pleased with Abel’s attitude and offering, but he did not look with favor on Cain’s. And the story went downhill from there.

Question is, what do I learn from this for my own life?

Currently I have a variety of church responsibilities, and responsibilities at Bible Study Fellowship (where we are studying Genesis this year).  I also have plenty of other things to do. So where do I put the first fruits of my efforts? When do I work on my church and BSF preparations: at the end of the day when I’m tired and can’t concentrate, or early in the day when I’ve got energy and can concentrate? Am I giving the Lord the first fruits of my efforts? Am I like Abel, or like Cain?

And how about you?

Short Story by Phyllis Wheeler

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