The Restored Orchard

Sibling Rivalry

When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

Genesis 4:3-7 NLT

Raising two boys can feel like being a referee at times. There are always little battles going on in our household. What I’ve learned is that as parents, we lay the foundation for how our children learn to live as Christians. We do our best to teach biblical principles, but what happens when they don’t take root like we envisioned they would?

The story of Cain and Abel is encountered in Chapter 4 of the book of Genesis. We see two brothers, Cain and Abel with different approaches to how they present gifts to the Lord. Cain was the firstborn of Adam and Eve and worked the ground. Abel was born second and tended to animals. The Bible goes on to show how Cain made an offering to God with “some of his crops”, but Abel offered the Lord the best of the firstborn of his flock. There is a clear contrast between the type of offering and the emotions after the response of God. When we teach our children about giving to the Lord, we teach them to give the first ten percent as a tithe. But the real intention behind the giving must be conveyed. Otherwise, we all miss the point. We give the first to God because we recognize it is all His. We give because our hearts are filled with faith in God. And when Cain’s heart was not in the right posture, God was not pleased with his offering. Chapter 4 of Genesis is a reminder that God sees the heart of the giver.

Cain and Abel showed me that we must continue to teach the truth of Jesus and the Word of God to our children. But not only that, we have to give them the content in a way that they can take hold of and use. It’s deeper than the stories they learn in Sunday school. We have to find ways to infuse the everyday moments with the true intention behind Christian living because their eternal lives depend on it.

This year, we are doing 365 Days in the Bible to stretch ourselves to meet with God each and every day. By dwelling in His Word, we find eternal truths, our identity, and our purpose. We invite you to join in with us, you can start at the beginning or jump in where we are. If you have another plan that you’d like to read, that’s fine. The goal is to be in the word each day. We know that we will be forever changed by reading God’s word.

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