Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk. Genesis 4:3-5 (TM)
I’m currently directing a show for the local community theatre. I’ve been telling the actors that, when it comes to performance, it’s not the lines that make a great show – it’s the thoughts, motivations, emotions and relationships underneath the lines. It’s the quality of the subtext that makes a great show.
There’s a parallel there to the story of Cain and Abel. The offerings aren’t the issue. It’s the subtext of the offerings.
We see Abel’s heart in the giving of the first-fruits of his herd – the best – right-off-the-top. That’s a sign-post of his gratitude, his understanding that everything he had came from God, and how much he honored God for being good to him.
We see Cain’s priorities when he didn’t give the first-fruits – the best – right-off-the-top of his crop. That is the sub-text of selfishness – giving what’s easiest and most convenient – what he thought he could afford. It’s a metaphor of how much he honored himself and the subservient position God held in his heart.
Am I Abel or am I Cain?