|You will, I’m sure, recall the story of Cain and Abel. Each made an offering to God; Cain, as a farmer, offered fruits from the land; Abel, his younger brother, a shepherd, offered a sheep from his flock. God took pleasure in Abel’s offering, yet no pleasure in Cain’s. Subsequently angered by this, Cain invites his brother into the open country and murders Abel there.
Much has been written on why one offering was accepted and the other rejected. The writer to the Hebrews describes Abel’s offering as one of faith, yet fails to attribute the same to Cain’s. This may well have contributed to God’s rejection of it. However, it is perhaps more to do with the heart behind the offering.
In the Oratory, I am chief cook and bottle washer. This is a role I have chosen and one I enjoy. However, it is constant, and has many regular chores associated with it. Among my responsibilities is purchasing and preparing food, turning it into a tasty meal and then clearing away and cleaning up.
While most of the time I do this with a willing heart, like everyone, I sometimes feel hard done by and sorry for myself. At such times I have to remind myself that this is a role I chose, and get my thinking right so that I approach each task with the appropriate attitude.
Both Cain and Abel made an offering to God, yet perhaps the thinking that lay behind the offering differed. God is not committed to receiving offerings from an impure motivation.
It’s possible to follow the instruction manual as we enter into worship with God, yet leave our heart far behind us. God is no machine, who responds to a mechanistic ritual; he is a personal God who has made each one of us in his own image.
God always invites us to come into alignment with his purpose for our life and the world he holds within his hands. It is not for us to bow the knee to God outwardly, while living a life independent from God in our heart and mind.
(Dr Micha Jaz)
With many peaceful blessings