We’re now entering the “Hall of Faith” – the eleventh chapter of Hebrews that lists the heroes of the people of God. You know these stories well they are a staple of Bible teachers because they lead by example. Their examples were not their exploits. Over and over and over it was their faith.
First up: Abel. “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead” (v. 4). Every sermon I’ve heard on Cain and Abel was about Cain’s actions and how God told him that “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (v. 7). Thus, Cain becomes a lesson in self-control.
But the writer takes an entirely different approach. In fact, he makes no mention of how Abel died. He said that Abel’s faith was evidenced by the offering he brought. Cain brought “some” of the produce from his fields while Able brought “fat portions from the firstborn of his flock” – or the best of the best. Did God just want a good steak dinner with no salad that day? No. The point was and is Abel’s faith. By definition, faith here is “the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ” (blueletterbible.com). Abel believed that God was real, that He was everything He claimed to be, and that He was worthy of the very best that Abel had to offer. Abel’s offering reflected how He saw God. And so did Cain’s.
What are you bringing to God and what does it say about how you see Him? I once heard a story about a little boy who, when the offering plate was passed at church, took the plate, set it on the floor, and stood in it. His embarrassed mother jerked him back in his seat, and hissed, “What are you doing?!” He loudly replied, “I don’t gots no money, so I want to give Jesus myself.” He was right on target. God doesn’t want your money – though tithing is one part of our giving. He wants you. All of you. Heart. Mind. Soul, Strength. So, Beloved, what is God worth to you?