It was harvest time. The muscles on the farmer’s back rippled as he worked hard at his harvest. A few hours later, he wiped the sweat off his brow and stood, surveying all the fruit of his labor. It had been a great harvest and he had already made plans. He would transport his goods to the fishing town several miles away. They always paid good money for his produce.
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith, it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who see Him.
The story of Abel is told in Genesis 4:2 – 11. Abel was a shepherd, and his brother Cain was a farmer. We are told that in the course of time, they both brought offerings to God. Both Cain and Abel gave what they had – being a farmer, Cain brought some of his harvest, and being a shepherd, Abel brought some of his flock. But, that’s where the similarity ends: Cain gave something, but Abel gave his best. Genesis 4: 4 says “and Abel for his part brought the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions”, and God had regard for his offering.
Abel’s story is so short that all we know of him is the fact that he gave an offering to God and was killed by his brother. The record about him is so brief, yet he is mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of our faith. By faith Abel offered God an acceptable offering…an offering that pleased God, and through his offering he received approval as righteous.
Abel could have kept the firstlings of his flock and their fat portions for himself – it was something desirable and something of great value. He could have carefully chosen a different gift, and packaged it to be presentable, just like Cain did. But he chose differently, and his choice still speaks for him today (Hebrews 11:4).
The Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith…even in our giving. When we think about faith, we usually think about great feats like moving mountains, or the reversal of natural events like the sun standing still for Joshua or Jesus feeding thousands with a little food. But, simple everyday acts like giving also require faith. Giving is not just about putting money in the offering basket at church, or pledging to support a ministry project. God may be asking you to give more of your time in service to him…or to help out a friend who can’t afford to pay their car note this month…or to give to a charity that helps feed poor children around the world. Regardless of what God is asking you to give – time, money, love, resources – it should be done in faith. In all that we do, we must do it unto God and in return He will bless us accordingly.
Abel was only here for a short time, but his one act of faith still speaks for him today. He gave sacrificially, based on what he had. He didn’t need to borrow, or indebt himself in order to please God. What he had was good enough…and what you have is good enough. What is God asking you to give? Can you trust Him enough to step out in faith and do it?
Proverbs 11: 24: Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want.
*All Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.