Last Sunday, I preached about Cain and Abel in terms of giving, and then read the passage in my study this morning. Abel gave from his first and best, trusting God with the rest. Consider the sacrifice He made by bringing the firstborn of his flock. He was, potentially, risking it all! Cain, however gave from his leftovers, which was not pleasing to God (I know there’s some who think because it wasn’t an animal sacrifice was the reason it wasn’t pleasing to God, but there were grain offerings, drink offerings, offerings of first fruit, and more, so I don’t think this is the case…besides, there wasn’t even a Law established yet!). The fact was, Cain was told to just give his best to God, and to master the sin that was creeping at his door. Yet, Cain, instead, killed his rival, his brother Abel, and, ultimately, lost his ability to work the ground.
I was thinking as I was reading this passage: we stand to lose the things we fight for if they are for greedy and selfish gain, as opposed to what God would have us do. Consider the three servants Jesus talked about in Matthew 25:14. Each was given an amount of money by their master, to each according to their ability, and two immediately put their money to work, and one buried what he was given. In the end, what he had sought to “protect” was removed from Him, and He was thrown out of his Master’s house. Loved ones, I’m making 2024 about trusting in God. And so, because it’s all His anyway, I’m going to give my first and my best. I’m going to trust Him, even when it hurts, I’m going to give before I pay a single bill, and make sure He has my first and best, even if I must go without. I will not fight for things my flesh desires, I will trust in God in all things.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary toc you, but you must rule over it.”
Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’