Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. (Genesis 4:1-3)
The name Cain comes from a word that means “to acquire” (as a gift or blessing) or “to take” (by force). Where Cain is concerned, we see that both applications of the word work; Eve saw him as blessing before he decided to take the life of her other child.
Abel comes from a word that means “vapor, mist” and can even be rendered as “nothingness.” Not in the sense that it has no worth but the nothingness that is the air we breathe. We can’t grab it and hold it and, yet, we can’t live without it. And so in “righteous Abel” we see, that which seems to be insignificant is actually vital. Though his life as recorded in Scripture is brief, he nevertheless, teaches us something important.
God can take what appears to be no more than a vapor and transform it into something of great beauty and value. That is one of the lessons his brief life teaches you and me. In those times when it seems our lives and contributions to the Kingdom are meaningless and insignificant, remember that our God has imbued us all with purpose, whether we see and understand it or not.
Blessings and Shalom,