Hebrews 11:4 (NKJV)
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
We all know the narrative about Cain and Able. It is a narrative that is disturbing to say the least. We are never told why God does not accept Cain's sacrifice. All we know is that given the circumstances, Cain had a choice to resist violence or to let violence (sin) overtake him. We all know what path he chose.
The writer of Hebrews starts this discourse of the great cloud of witnesses with Able and his sacrifice. Able's sacrifice is much more than the first born of his flock. Able sacrifices his life. This text seems to suggest that Able still speaks to us today because he was a man of peace and a man of God.
When I was young I resented the ancestors. I thought they were weak for "allowing themselves" to be enslaved, terrorized, raped, and discriminated against. As I have grown and understood the history and the transformative power of sacrifice, I no longer see them as weak. I see them among the strongest and most righteous people to have ever existed. They like Able, still speak to us today because they chose a more perfect way. Isn't this the crux of Christianity; sacrifice and struggle that result in victory, power, and righteousness?
Lord as we look to Able and all our ancestors who sacrificed so much, give us appreciation for what they lost. Lord we ask for a greater appreciation of Jesus. Help us to be peace makers. Even in our justice work help us to understand the depth and divine nature of non violent resistance. This is our prayer in Jesus name!
Questions for Meditation
How can I resist violence and anger in my life?
How can I show a greater appreciation for those who came before me who sacrificed their lives and their freedom?
How do I want people to speak about me long after I am gone?
Now pray in your own words that God would give yo a legacy that "still speaks" long after you're gone.