He carefully arranged the carrots next to the plump beets and stepped back.
There. Looked great! The colors complemented each other and the size of each vegetable had already turned heads. No one could coax produce from the soil quite like him. He was a master gardener, no doubt about that.
He smirked at the pitiful, bloody altar across the yard where his brother was busily hacking up that poor dead lamb. How disgusting! Surely civilization had progressed beyond his parents' early days, hadn't it? Such messy offerings weren't needed anymore.
He'd never really understood this God his father and brother knew, but maybe today he'd get on His good side. This time he'd brought the better offering. This ought to Wow! Yahweh. Granted, this tasteful array wasn't exactly within the stated requirements, but that's how progress was made, wasn't it? Maybe Yahweh would see that they could compromise on some things, shake it up a bit. Maybe this time the Mysterious One would see the wisdom in a Cain's offering.
The days of physical sacrifices are past, thanks to the Ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Yet how many times do we bring a Cain's offering in place of real worship?
What we call "worship services" in many churches across the world are nothing more than fleshly attempts to give God what WE want to give him, not what He requires.
We clock in between 9 and 11 Sunday morning,
- sit down,
- read the worship guide,
- chit-chat with a few friends,
- stand up,
- sing what we're told to sing,
- listen with one ear unless it's a feel-good message and then we nod right along with the preacher.
- If we're really pious, we actually plunk our dutiful tithe into the bucket and try not to think about what else that money could purchase.
Then it's out the door and back to REAL life, where we're the boss. Decisions are ours alone. Life choices are made with scarcely a nod in God's direction. The thought of worship never enters our minds again until next Sunday morning at approximately 10:48 am.
Do we really believe God is fooled? We shake our heads at the foolishness of Cain's plan, yet the average Christian in America is doing exactly the same thing. Every day.
We've bought into the Satanic idea that we can offer God what WE like, what WE choose to give him, and that will suffice. We think we we can offer him a part of our hearts, a part of our lives, a chair in the corner, and He will be tickled with it, like tossing a rattle to a baby to keep him occupied while we go on about our business.
We are fools.
Christian attempts at worship vary from from hysterical emotionalism to rigid formality and God wants none of it. "The true worshiper must worship the Father in spirit and in truth. He seeks such worshipers as this." (John 4:24)
True worship does not start or end according to the clock or the calendar. True worship is a way of life. Both spirit and truth must be fully engaged or it is not worship, it is only noise. If your spirit is not placed on that altar before God, if your mind is not being daily renewed with His truth, then what you are doing is not worship. It is a Cain's offering, a formality that does nothing to touch the heart of God.
Before you lift a brow at Cain, examine what you call worship. Cain offered to God his opinion rather than his life. Are you doing the same thing?