Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
If you know the story of Cain and Abel, you know that this doesn’t end well. But what was the source of the problem? Both Cain and Abel brought forth a sacrifice to the Lord. But note the attitude that was behind the giving of the sacrifices.
Abel brought the best of his flock while Cain brought some of his fruits of the soil. God looked with favor on Abel’s sacrifices but had a warning for Cain. Cain tried to get away with giving the least he could but it wasn’t acceptable to God.
God asks for the best from us, not our leftovers. God responds to our worship according to how we respond to Him. If we give God our leftovers, what right do we have to expect the best from Him?
But if we do what is right, then we know that God will be pleased with us. What is right? Abel gave the best that he had to God. We don’t make animal sacrifices today but it means that we give to the church our time, our talents, and our tithe.
Micah 6:8 explains what is right as well. “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” If we do these things, we’ll be doing what is acceptable.