"And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time, it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” - Genesis 4:2b-7

Too often in my life, I have been given God the leftovers. When I was younger, my primary focus was on my career in the insurance/investment field, spending time with my children, and riding my new Polaris jet ski. I lived in a beautiful creek-front house which had its own boat ramp and covered boat lift. I loved watersports and it was my dream to live on the water. My life consisted of scheduling a few appointments with customers, spending two to three hours each day advising them on their financial and insurance needs, and then quickly closing the sale so I could make it home in time to jump on the jet ski and ride the eight miles to the beach.

With one of my sons on the back, we would jump the waves or simply ride high on the top of a wave's crest like a king on his throne. My heart and soul were set on having fun and doing whatever I wanted each day. God's time was limited to the one-hour church service on Sunday morning. God did not get the firstfruits of my time or my heart. I cannot even say that He was my God, as I only gave Him the leftovers. He was not my priority, and I suffered the consequences. My life imploded, and I lost my job, my wife, my children, and my freedom.

In today's text, we witness the lives of two very well-known brothers. I have often heard people wonder why God was so harsh with Cain. He grew crops and offered God some of the fruit. He acknowledged God and gave an offering. Why did God not accept Cain's offering? I believe that the answer can be found by comparing Cain's offering with his brother's.

Abel brought offspring from the firstlings of his flock which were the fattest and best, while Cain just brought some of the fruit. We can infer what the Word does not specifically state: it appears that Cain met his own needs and maybe even those of his parents before giving his offering. God was on his mind only after he fulfilled his own desires. He did not offer the best of the firstfruits. Abel, on the other hand, before he looked to his own needs, acknowledged God as the provider and his Lord. He offered to God the best and fattest firstlings of the flock. Only then did he attend to his own needs and those of his parents. God was given priority.

It is so easy for us to give God the leftovers. We have so many commitments for our time. We work hard and need rest and recreation. Often, we just do not have anything left at the end of the week. Our family, needs, and desires come first. We give God the leftover money if there is any, and our leftover time and energy. Too often we do not offer God our first fruit offering.

Jesus gave us His all. He laid down His life in order to cleanse us from our unrighteousness and to offer us to the Father. In Christ we are spotless and holy. He deserves not only our firstfruits but our best. When I prioritize reading and applying the Word to my life, and actively seek out how I might serve Him in each moment of my life, I make God my priority. It is too easy to get "busy" and neglect those in need. When I give God's will prominence in my life and take time to listen to and be guided by the Holy Spirit, my life becomes a firstfruit offering that is pleasing to God, for we are all Abel when we put God first and give Him our best.