Scripture Text: Genesis 4; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:10-15
First read through of the Genesis 4 account of Cain and Abel leaves a lot of questions. The least of which is how would either of the brothers know what to bring to God as a sacrifice. It is not a stretch to say that Cain and Abel had an ongoing relationship with God and this passage is a continuation of that relationship. It is possible this is not the first time the brothers brought a sacrifice to God.
Another question is, what made Cain's offering so unacceptable? Read closely and you will see Abel brought the best he had to offer and Cain seemed to offer a "whatever" portion of the crop. To put it another way, Cain was trying to do the minimum to meet the requirements and Abel was offering the very best that he had to meet the requirements.
Perhaps that is the the faith we see in Abel that Paul and the writer of 1 John, lift up. Abel was willing to trust God with the most prized portion, the most valuable. It is easy to slip into the place of offering God less than full effort or to simply offer the minimum required to get by. The challenge and work of faith is to give God the best, even when we do not really want to.
Turning to marriage. There is a great temptation to do the minimum to make it work. Shuttle the kids here and there, help out around the house, be for the most part physically present. Going through the motions of a relationship with out fully engaging. To get the most out of marriage both partners must be willing to move beyond the minimum required and strive to offer each other the very best. We need to move from a "whatever" portion of our lives and invest the most valuable and best. This means time, energy and effort, and a willingness to serve each other in ways that are wholehearted and sometimes at our own expense.