When we left Cain last week (check it out here if you need to catch up!), he was angry, but his anger was displaced. He was hurt, and probably embarrassed – his brother’s offering was accepted and his was not. Rather than taking a moment to be teachable or reflect personally, Cain directed his offense and rash judgement at God and at Abel. Rather than living out of love, Cain had a scarcity mentality that led him to the comparison trap.
This “scarcity mentality” led Cain to think that there wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough love, there wasn’t enough success, there wasn’t enough favor, there wasn’t enough fill-in-the-blank-here to go around. He mistakenly thought that if his brother was accepted, then Cain would not be accepted. He didn’t know there was room in God’s heart for them both. In God’s economy, there’s always enough.
Let’s keep going:
“Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8)
I wonder what that last conversation was, between the brothers. Cain felt unloved and unaccepted, and sadly he thought that the only way to make himself look better was to knock other people down. He felt he had to get rid of the comparison. Rather than doing his own best and bringing his own gift (how do you compare a fruit and an animal? How could anyone?), he eliminated what he viewed as competition and killed his brother. How heartbreaking. Beyond heartbreaking.
God wasn’t comparing the brothers. God wasn’t even comparing the gifts they brought. God was looking at their hearts, considering the level of sacrifice that those specific gifts represented. Abel brought his best, and God accepted. Cain brought a leftover, and God rejected.
The scarcity mentality is a dangerous trap for anyone. Friend, you need to be so rooted in the love of Christ that you realize there’s enough love for everyone. ALL of His children are precious – just because one is loved it does not follow that another is unloved. Just because one has a talent, it does not follow that another does not have a talent. Just because one receives a gift, it does not follow that another goes without.
Do you understand that another person’s gifts don’t take anything away from you? There ought to be no competition in the body of Christ. What cause did Cain have to be angry at Abel? What did Abel do to Cain? Abel’s offering had nothing to do with Cain, it wasn’t a reflection of Cain, he didn’t make an offering for the purpose of showing anyone else up. Abel was making an offering to the Lord, bringing his gift. Let’s not create some dialogue that isn’t here.
Saul did the same thing with David – remember when the people cheered “Saul slayed his thousands, David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). Saul received these words as a personal attack. It wasn’t. David was on Saul’s team then – Saul could have looked at David’s victories as his own. There was room for more than one person to be successful. Cain could have taken an example from his brother, made an acceptable offering to the Lord. Both of their gifts would have been accepted. Cain thought it was an either/or, when it could have easily been both.
In his scarcity mentality, Cain felt as if the only way to make himself look better/feel better was to knock down anyone around him, even his own brother. You know, we behave differently when we think we are unloved.
I was watching a movie the other day, and these two academics were walking outside on a beautiful sunny day. One had an umbrella, and the other asked why. He answered, “I’m going to a cricket match, and I think if I’m prepared for rain, God won’t allow rain. Watch this” (as he shouts at the sky) ” ‘God, I’m going to spend the afternoon in the library!’ See, that’s almost a guarantee that it won’t rain. If I’m not prepared, that’s when God will send the rain and ruin my day. You see, I’m an atheist.” His companion said, “You are not an atheist. You believe in God, you just think that He doesn’t like you.”
If we could really get ahold of that, of how much the Father loves us and values us and treasures us, we would be at peace and confident and abundant and safe in a way that would completely change our us. If we were changed that dramatically, the people within our sphere of influence would be changed as well.
Next week, let’s circle back to our original verse, 1 John 3:13-18 and tie this up. This is the longest rabbit trail y’all have ever had to follow me on – thanks for staying with me!
Today’s treasure? God’s love can transform us from the inside out. When we know He loves us and we know that He has our very best in His heart, we aren’t threatened when we see that He loves the people around us too. I’m praying that you don’t fall victim to some sort of scarcity mentality: in God’s economy, there is enough (enough love, success, peace, provision, enough fill-in-the-blank-here) for ALL of us. God does bless us, every one. ❤