Genesis 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 8:3-9

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




It is recorded that Adam and Eve had two sons in Genesis 4. Abel looked after the flocks, whilst Cain grew crops. Both brothers offered a gift to the Lord, although we are not told what prompted them to do so. Abel brought the blood of the firstborn of his flocks; Cain offered grain.

The sacrifice of an animal came to be known as a sin offering. Without the shedding of blood there could be no atonement of sin. Just as the grain offering required the best grain, so the sin offering required the best of the flock or herd. The animal sacrificed could be a young bull, a male or female goat, or a dove or pigeon. Abel brought the first born of his flock as well as their fat which was especially prized, and which produced a sweet aroma to the Lord (Leviticus 17:6) The requirements for such an offering were laid down later by God in Leviticus 4 and by then the type of sacrificial animal would depend on who was making the sacrifice and their financial situation.

A grain offering was made to give thanks to God for His provision and generosity towards the one making the sacrifice. Scripture later describes the exact format of such offerings in Leviticus chapters 2 and 6. Whilst these instructions were precise, we have no idea how Cain handled his offering.

However, it should have been made of the best quality grain.

We are also not told why the one offering was accepted by God and the other rejected, although the writer of Hebrews explained that Abel gave his offering ‘by faith’ (Hebrews 11:4). It is generally accepted that it was the attitude of the giver that determined the acceptability of each gift.

Both sacrifices point forward to the final and perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross for the redemption of all people.

Any decision regarding giving to God needs to be seen as a spiritual matter and will reflect how a person relates to God. Giving is essential in the handling of money. Giving to God’s work needs to be the first priority in the way money is utilized.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes that the churches in Macedonia, such as Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea were in trouble. Yet they gave willingly and generously to him in his ministry. He was, at the time, raising money to help those who followed Christ in Jerusalem who were extremely poor. The Romans took most of the wealth they found in Macedonia when they conquered the area. Nevertheless the Macedonian churches gave what they could out of their own poverty and since they gave willingly and freely the gift was actually more than they could afford. The people begged Paul to accept their gift. To them it was a privilege to support both him and the work of God. True generosity is not measured in monetary value but in sacrifice.

Paul commended them because they gave themselves to God and then to Paul and his companions as they did God’s work. When a person gives themselves to God, material giving will follow.

It is not enough for a person to say they are willing to give. Spending more that they earn is not an excuse to prevent them giving willingly. There is no answer as to how much it is right to give as it varies from one person to another. The principles of giving are that it should be regular, planned, proportional and private (1 Corinthians 16:1-4) and that it must be generous, freely given and cheerful (2 Corinthians 9).


Day 1

Genesis 4:1-5

What is your attitude when you give? Do you give willingly or out of a sense of obligation? Do you trust God enough to give sacrificially? What is the quality of your gift?

Day 2

Genesis 4:1-5

Which, in your opinion, is the most important cause to which you give? Why is it important to you? How do you support that cause – weekly, monthly, yearly, now and again, once? How does this cause further the work of God? What is God saying to you today about your giving to this and any other cause?

Day 3

2 Corinthians 8:1-9

How does the amount you could give differ from the amount you do give? How would you respond if/when God asks you to give substantially more than you think you can afford? How would such giving affect your current life-style? What would you say to God? What would you do? Can you trust Him in all things? Why/why not? Speak to Him today about your feelings

Day 4

2 Corinthians 8:1-9

What is your financial priority at this time? How strong is your desire to give to God’s work and ministry? How do these two issues complement each other? What does God say to you about them?

Day 5

2 Corinthians 8:1-9

How do you discern the difference between emotional giving and hearing God’s call to you to give to a ministry/need? How do you know when God is asking you to trust Him to give more than you think it is wise to give or when you are being impulsive? Speak to God about any questions you may have. What does He reply?


How do you give a gift to God? How do you feel when you know it is furthering the work of His Kingdom? How


  • What does sacrificial giving mean to you? Have you ever felt called to give sacrificially? How did such a call impact your life? Why do you think God asked (or has not asked) this of you?
  • How could Cain have made an offering pleasing to God? Does one person’s offering mean more to God because of who they are, what they offer, the quality of their offering? What do you think makes an acceptable offering to God?
  • The Christian response to a need is not just to see but to do. How do you respond to the needs you see around you?
  • What emotions arise in you when you see people, in their poverty, giving to someone who is in need? Share any examples of such occurrences. How did such gifts of love (made to you or others – financial or otherwise) make you feel?
  • The Macedonian church was described as ‘living grace’. Do you live grace? What would that be like in your life, your environment? How can you live grace?
  • Does your giving indicate the way you have given yourself to God? How does it do this? If you feel it does not, why do you think that is so?
  • What would you need to give in order to give sacrificially, not in financial terms but in your way of life, your relationships, your time, your ability, etc? How does such a thought make you feel?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?


Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.


Ask God to show you opportunities for sacrificial giving in His name this week. Report back to how such opportunities made you feel. (You do not need to share whether you followed them through or not, or to what extent if you did so. That is between you and God.)


Genesis Chapter 4

2 Corinthians Chapter 8

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