Shortly, many of us will get ready to go for Sunday cooperate worship. We will offer praise and thanksgiving. But should we? Perhaps there is a step necessary before we come to worship, a step that is very, very old – much older than Jesus’ elucidation of the process.
“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up?”
Do you remember those words? God spoke them to Cain after his offering was not regarded. Are we to imagine that Cain and Abel had a perfect relationship before this incident? Does a man kill his brother over the first difficulty between them? Why was Cain’s offering not accepted? Could it have been that reconciliation was needed before the offering was presented?
Is it more natural to read between the lines, concluding that jealousy and hatred were already in full bloom before Cain received this report? And doesn’t God’s instruction make far more sense if it is about reconciliation rather than some unknown ritual observation?
“If you do well.” “Leave your offering there and first be reconciled to your brother or spouse, and then come.”
Are you reconciled with your spouse? Are you ready to present your offering or have you overlooked a vital first step? What is more important in the eyes of the Lord: your offerings and thanksgivings and prayers or reconciled relationships?
Remember that God doesn’t say if you have something against a brother or sister (spouse) but rather if they have something against you.
Had Cain listened to God, left his offering and been reconciled to his brother, I am quite sure that God would have looked favorably upon his gift – and that would lead immediately to Cain changing his offering to the best of the herd rather than a negotiated sacrifice.
Reconciliation with my brother begins the process of reconciliation with God. It is a spiritual paradox that my action of reconciliation toward someone I can see becomes the springboard for reconciliation with the God I cannot see.
God will never do what He expects us to do. Quite clearly, God expects us to initiate reconciliation with others. Then God will do what no man can ever do – look favorably upon our offerings. May you leave your preaching today and listen to your spouse who has something against you before you come for your showbiz-sorry, I was trying to write conducting service. Matthew 5:23-24.
By Pr Cyrus Rod.