The Self Made Secret

Preached by

We’ve all felt it – that underlying frustration with life, like we’re wandering but going nowhere. No matter how hard we work or what we achieve, it never seems to satisfy that restless feeling inside. Two brothers, Cain and Abel, felt this temptation of restlessness long ago. Though they lived simple lives as farmers, one brought an offering to honor their provider while the other seemed to go through the motions, just wanting something in return.

Their story shows how a sense of entitlement can destroy relationships and leave us empty, while gratitude can give life deep meaning. What really drove them apart, and how can we learn to appreciate what we have before it’s too late?

  1. Cain and Abel both made offerings to God, but God looked favorably on Abel’s offering and not Cain’s.
  2. Cain became angry that his offering was not accepted. God warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door and he needed to master it.
  3. Cain killed his brother Abel out of anger that God accepted Abel but not him.
  4. God punished Cain by cursing him and sending him away to wander restlessly on the earth.
  5. The underlying attitude behind Cain’s actions was a sense of entitlement, ingratitude, and using God for his own gain. He felt he deserved God’s favor.
  6. This attitude of entitlement and ingratitude is the beginning of much sin and causes us to feel distant from God. It leads to manipulating circumstances for our own benefit.
  7. We find peace when we live with gratitude and faith, trusting God’s provision, rather than expecting God and life to revolve around us.
  8. Even in his punishment, God showed mercy to Cain, protecting him from being killed. God patiently waits for sinners to repent.
  9. The story illustrates the restlessness of those who try to live life apart from God, as well as God’s persistent love for sinners.

The fields may change but the inner struggle remains the same. We all want to feel proud of our work and respected by others. But when we view life as something we deserve rather than a gift, we doom ourselves to this land of discontentment. Instead, we must let go of expectations and open our hands to what we’ve been given each day.

Our families and communities will thrive when we focus outward rather than inward, showing thanks for each other’s presence rather than demanding more. Though the path is hard, choosing humility over pride, compassion over anger, is the only way home. Our provider patiently waits for us to return, just as the soil patiently awaits our nurturing hands, renewed with perspective and purpose. Brothers, our greatest harvest is within reach – will we seize it before time runs out?

All content is property of Jeff Vines and ONE&ALL Church.