I got a new puppy! Some friends of mine posted on Facebook that they had some puppies to give away. I called them up and when I found out their heritage, I really wanted one. The father of the litter is known around here as a super cattle working dog, and getting the chance to have one of his offspring was too good to pass up.
We brought him home Sunday night, and introduced him to my two other dogs. Skeeter is an old Basset Hound that is enjoying the twilight of her life. She took one look at him, growled and turned her back and went on her way. My black lab, Bob, didn’t know what to think. We’ve had Bob for 5 years; I got him about a month after Lela and I got married. He knows he is my buddy and we’ve always had a one on one relationship. But now there is this new puppy. Bob still gets attention, but now he has to share it with Alf (the puppy).
Monday, I began the new puppy training routine, and Bob had to interject himself and prove that he could still do all the same tricks. I would acknowledge him and try to go back to training Alf, but again, Bob would horn in. Finally, I had to take Alf into the house to continue his training. The entire time, Bob sat at the back door, looking in and whimpering. He felt like I had chosen a favorite.
It is so easy to claim favoritism when we don’t understand the master plan. Bob doesn’t understand why Alf is getting more attention, but as their master, I am trying to train them both to do as I ask. Bob knows what I expect, and is a very good and obedient dog. Alf is still a puppy; his maturity requires more attention, and more discipline.
The same thing is found in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain was furious because God was not impressed with his offering. It wasn’t just because God preferred livestock to grains. It was because Cain’s offering wasn’t as sincere as Abel’s.
In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also presented [an offering]—some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he was downcast –Gen 4: 3-5
Notice that the Bible notes that Abel’s offering consisted of the firstborn of his flock, and their fat portions. Abel gave God the very best. Cain’s offering was just a portion of the land’s produce. He didn’t save his first and best crops for God.
God expects the very best from all of us. This was a lesson that Cain still had to learn. However, instead of going to God and asking what he had done wrong, he got angry and took matters into his own hands.
So many times we make mistakes, and instead of trying to learn from them and correct them, we just make a situation worse. Many times, it’s what we do after we’ve sinned that matters most.