Abel was the son of Adam and Eve who was killed by his brother; Cain when God accepted his offerings over that of Cain’s.
Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering. GENESIS 4:4 ESV
Abel became the world’s first victim to violent crime. The son of Adam and Eve, Abel died at the hands of his older brother Cain. Before this fateful day, Abel lived in a small human village made up only of his own family. As a family might do in this scenario, they divided the jobs among different members: Cain farmed the earth and Abel cared for the herds of animals.
During the course of time, the two brothers offered a sacrifice to God.
Abel offered his gift from his herds and Cain from his fields. While we can’t know for certain the reason God accepted one sacrifice and not the other, the biblical narrative reveals that Abel’s offering obtained God’s approval. Cain, on the other hand, received a reprimand. While we don’t have further details of the story, we see into Cain’s heart through his next action: the murder of his brother. The anger and jealousy in Cain’s heart may have been the exact reason God had rejected his sacrifice. In contrast, Hebrews 11:4 records, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as
righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his
faith, though he died, he still speaks” (ESV).
While there has been much speculation about the nature of the two sacrifices, it may simply be that Abel’s act of worship was offered by faith and Cain’s was offered with an angry spirit of jealousy and obligation.
There are many reasons to attend and get involved in church. Even steps taken to grow in your spiritual life can be cloaked with spiritual reasons that mask a concern for appearances or the need to match other people’s expectations. The jealous need for acceptance and approval can result in your doing good activities like Cain but doing them without the heart motivation of which God approves.