Q. I am teaching Sunday school ages 5-11. I am going to teach the story of Cain and Abel but I don’t have a good understanding of it myself, or I may be going too deeply into the story.
When someone asks why Cain’s offering wasn’t accepted is there an easy way for me to explain it or do I have to go into the whole thing about blood sacrifices. I don’t want them to get more confused. What offering was God initially looking for from Cain?
A. This is a case where you have a chance to plant a very important seed and you don’t have to go into the blood sacrifice issue to do it. Abel brought an acceptable sacrifice and Cain didn’t. God told Cain that if he did the right thing he’d be accepted like Abel was (Genesis 4:6-7). So God was looking for the same kind of sacrifice that Abel had brought, because that’s what He had taught them to do.
But it’s not the sacrifice itself that’s important, it’s the principle, and that’s what you should focus on. If we do the right thing we’ll be accepted by God. Ask them what they think is the right thing for us to do. Then tell them the people asked Jesus that same question and show them how He answered:
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”(John 6:28-29).
It’s a great opportunity to share the simplicity of the Gospel by showing them that the only thing God requires of us is to believe in what His Son has done for us. You can also refer them to John 3:16, a verse they’re probably familiar with, to confirm this.