It is often quoted that money is the root of all evil. Ever since the eyes of mankind were opened to our insecurities and nakedness, we have sought a reason as to why we experience such suffering and pain in our lives, in our personal worlds. We want a “thing” to blame…something or someone to hold responsible.
It is so much easier to look upon an object to be the reason for such brokenness. If we can condemn that as the culprit of our demise, if we can rationalize that as the cause, then we can be freed back into peace by the removal of such from our lives.
In our current world it is easy to see how money has corrupted the systems of structure we reside within. There is no doubt that much of our worldly problems revolve directly around the altar of the almighty dollar. With such materialistic wealth we witness the unending quest of power. Corruption, manipulation, oppression, and divisiveness become the tools of the game, an unending cycle of selfish pursuit stemming back from our first attempt to honor our God — to show Him our self-worth.
Go back and read the account from Genesis 4 and you might be shocked to find that God never requested or demanded such a sacrifice of human effort. So why did these two, first born sons of earth, each bring their offerings before God, with Cain leading the way and Abel following his older brothers lead?
Why? What inside of Cain made him want to take a portion of his personal bounty and present it before the Creator of the universe, the one who had made all things and who sustains all things? What could God have possibly ever needed from him?
Here’s a shocker…God did not want—God did not need anything from Cain or Abel.
So why did they bring such unrequested sacrifice? What made Cain’s offer unworthy and Abel’s acceptable?
Simply stated: Their understanding of God’s Love.
You see, Cain started the idea that he could earn God’s love with his self-efforts. Cain struggled, sweat, and toiled under tormenting sun, scratching his survival from thorn and thistle, attempting to gain life sustaining nourishment from a cursed ground.
This was unpleasing to God, because this was never His plan for Cain… God so Loved Cain!
This Creator of Love was heartbroken that Cain believed he had to earn some measure of value. Cain saw God as a distant, angry force of rejection. This version of god was the one who cast his parents out of the garden, shielding them from eternal brokenness. Cain saw this as an opportunity to prove to God his personal self-worth; showcasing that he belonged back in the garden, on his own goodness, on his personal ability to sacrifice. Abel followed suit, like most younger brothers do.
I imagine he watched his brother build-up an idea of God and the grander of his pride… Cain would think how God would be so excited; that God would notice how hard he worked for Him; that God would say, “This is my dearly loved Son Cain, who brings me great joy!”
The younger Abel must have panicked.
He had not broken the clay hardened ground like his older brother, he had not endured the pain and laborious efforts which is brother had… would God be unpleased with him? Would he be left outside of the favor his brother would receive? What could he possibly do to earn an equal sacrifice to that of Cain?
His worth was not close to what his brother had worked so hard to yield. He was so far behind he could never keep up. The last-ditch sacrifice of another life would have to do…it was his only hope.
Abel took a lamb from the protection of its mother, likely still nursing. An animal which was yet unfit for providing anything of instant value to this Neolithic family… an easy prey, an easy target—a desperate unworthy attempt to show this God he desired love too!
He had to know this sacrifice was not really worth what Cain’s was, but Abel hoped God’s grace would be big enough to accept him too. He had to think, “Please take me back to the garden too, even as unworthy as my offering is.”
You see, God was never interested in their sacrifices.
God wanted them to know there was no way to earn His love and grace. They chose to place their understandings of love onto their own efforts, the materialistic products of this world. We often misquote the verse in 1 Timothy.
No, money is not the root of all evil.
Misplaced love is the root of all evil.
Cain chose to believe that he had to earn God’s love and the rejection of this self-sacrificing offering enraged him! How dare God not see how hard he worked. How audacious of God to choose the pathetic attempt of a sacrifice his brother scrambled to provide…bloody, lifeless, desperate, worthless.
Cain was not evil, he was confused.
I can only imagine the joy Cain had in believing that he was going to get to know His Creator Abba… He would once again walk in the Garden as his mother and father did! He was certain he had done what it took to earn back what his parents had lost… It was only after his failure, God’s rejection, that his misplaced understanding of love grew into anger, jealously, and rage. He could not believe that God’s grace was sufficient.
He believed his efforts were more than enough. Cain’s hope was in his sacrifice.
Cain did not believe that grace was fair… and this perspective caused the evil which led to murder.
It is no different today.
When we believe that we have any measure to earn the grace of God we will fall into the same trap as Cain. If we believe for one second that those who will scramble in desperation, are left outside of love and grace, and that our devotion is what earns us God’s love, we too might become angry, jealous, enraged.
God’s will for you is simply accepting His love and grace as you are without any payback needed. This was fully displayed by the bloodied, broken, lifeless lamb, nailed to the cross.
So learn to conquer evil and change your understanding!
The Love of God is not based on what you can do for Him…
Move it to its proper place.
See love in everything. There is no earning it.
He has done all things because of how much He is in love with you.
You are His child, and you bring Him great joy!