Sunday, March 4, 2018

By faith Abel: against the wind

The Word for today:
Hebrews 11:23-40
mark this: (Hebrews 11:4)
By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
Before I ever read the Bible, I heard all about Cain and Abel. I knew they were brothers, sons of Adam and Eve, and that Cain killed Abel.
And I always wondered why I heard more about Cain than Abel. When I came to faith in Jesus Christ and started living my faith out in public in real ways, I found out why we hear more about Cain.
Cain is the world’s boy. He goes along and gets along. He has the reputation as the rebel, but if we consider for a moment that there were four persons in the world and that Cain followed the path already taken by Mom and Dad, while Abel took the path that had been taken by no one…
You tell me which one is the rebel and which one is Mama’s boy.
I have a growing contempt for the Cains of the world. They’re the kind that take a poll before they vote. They boldly proceed—but only in the direction of the prevailing wind. They are well-liked and very likely to be named Citizens of the Year.
And they have a growing contempt for me and my kind, who will never—trust me--be elected Mayor of Podunk.
While my disdain for Cain increases, my respect and fascination for Abel has multiplied. He has few lines in scripture, but he has a position and place in God’s story which is powerfully eloquent.
As I mentioned above, within the microcosm that was his world he stood absolutely alone. He followed God when no one else did. Project him out to the macro world and we see the Arch-Rebel, Jesus Christ -- walking as God told him to walk, bringing the sacrifice God told him to bring -- without ally or precedent or example.
There’s a cute little poster, found in any Christian bookstore, with a Christian fish swimming that-a-way, against the tide of prevailing opinion, and straight into the teeth of a whole school of sharks coming this-a-way. My kids got me that picture, set in a frame, for Father’s Day a few years ago. I take it as a great compliment every time I see it, and as a source of ongoing inspiration and resolve.
But as I swim against the tide, I stand in absolute awe of Jesus Christ and Abel. I know how lonely faith can be, yet I have a phalanx of support when compared to them. I know how misunderstood faith can get, yet I am standing with many others in the place where they stood utterly alone.
Jesus Christ and Abel are my biggest and big brothers, respectively. And they are my biggest and big heroes. They went first, and they went alone.
I am deeply indebted to them. There are other heroes in the Hall of Faith, but Jesus and Abel are the original inductees, in a class by themselves.

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