The Best Gift
“The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” (Genesis 4:4b-5a)
It’s hard to know why Cain’s offering wasn’t received as warmly as Abel’s, but we do know that “Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.” (v4a) It was the best of his best. Perhaps Cain’s sacrifices weren’t the prime of his crop, or maybe his attitude dampened the gift.
Have you ever participated in a white elephant gift exchange? You know, where you scrounge around your house for some useless piece of junk and wrap it up in a beautiful package? Then you go to a Christmas party and secretly wring your hands together, waiting for the poor person who’ll pick your present? My husband and I always have fun searching our house for just the right “treasure”. We’ve been known to give away things that were previously buried in a closet or drawer, like an 80s-style exercise VHS, complete with leotard-donned instructor.
The reality is those gift exchanges are fun because we know what we’re getting ourselves into. But if we had wealthy parents and were accustomed to receiving a Hawaiian vacation each year, only to open this year’s package and uncover a roll of toilet paper with a one-dollar bill stuffed inside, we’d be pretty disappointed.
That’s how God feels when we give him less than our best sacrifice. He knows what we’re capable of giving, but instead He’s staring down the short tube of a roll of toilet paper. Just like Cain, we give Him something mediocre and hope He’ll be satisfied. Why do we hold back from giving an Abel-like sacrifice to God? Is it because we don’t recognize the value of what we possess? Or is it because we want to horde our talents and possessions for ourselves?
While it’s important to give God a valuable gift, we must also give in a manner pleasing to Him. He evaluates both our motives and the quality of what we offer. As Christmas approaches, ask yourself the following questions. When I give my time, talents, or money to God, do I fret about how much I’m relinquishing? Or do I have a joyful and pure heart because of what I’m able to give? How does either approach affect my attitude toward God?
Give Him your best this holiday season!
Lord, Thank you for the gift of your Son. You made the ultimate sacrifice on my behalf. As I go through this Christmas season and the new year, show me what I can give back to you. And give me the courage to give you nothing less than my best. Amen.
Sarah Forgrave is a prepublished inspirational fiction writer, with novels in the genres of women's fiction and romance. She also writes articles for Ungrind.org, blogs at Every Woman’s Journey, and works part-time as an accountant. When she’s not in front of the computer, she stays busy chasing the two bundles of energy that live in her house—her husband and her toddler-aged son.