Gen. 4:5 – “but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. …”
In 1997, Shania Twain wistfully penned a song about what matters most in relationships. The verses speak about all of the things a person can have, and still not reveal what they are, hence not truly impressing the object of their affection. The critically acclaimed song sparked conversation on all levels of relationships. This also poses a thought for us as we begin the New Year. We’ve heard all the resolutions and proclamations; we are more than certain that goals have been set. But we’d be surprised if we ask God his opinion on the matters. How does God genuinely feel about “stuff?”
Two brothers had “stuff.” Cain was a tiller of the ground, while Able was a shepherd. They both had responsibilities, prominence, and bragging rights for different reasons. However, only one took advantage of them. Cain did everything he could to keep things perfect. A tiller of ground believes in symmetry, exacting, and strategic positioning. A shepherd, however, must have a plan in mind but a position in heart. Abel knew that anything he accomplished was because of a heart to complete it. And we learned how different each Brother’s thought process was at offering time.
The process of time had come for each brother to bring a sacrifice to God. No specifications were given prior to the offering, so one could only deduce that the Honoree was looking for more than just “stuff.” So, the question is, what do you give One who has everything?
As you begin this New Year, material things are great. Specifics are important. But God can reject it all if the heart of the giver is not pure. As we begin this year, one of the best things you can do is an audit on your heart. Nothing you accomplish can impress God. Nothing you can lend, give, or create can impress God. Nothing you attempt to prepare is better than your heart. If the motive is not pure, neither is the moment. If the heart is not the “why” the gift will tell on the giver. How do we know that to be true? When Cain killed his brother in a jealous rage, God said, “Your Brother’s blood cried to me from the ground.” The same occupation that Cain operated in daily was smeared with his heart issue. Don’t operate in ministry, vocation, charity, or personal aspiration with a heart of malice. It will be obvious. God says just as Shania said, “that don’t impress me much.”