A Hall of Fame inducts only the best, the standouts and stars, the elite few, the uniquely remarkable. Each are extraordinary, but all are imperfect. The greatest quarterback threw interceptions. The best batter struck out.
The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews has been called, not the Hall of Fame, but the Hall of Faith.
We find in the Hall of Faith those who failed, those who had fallen and fumbled. They are remarkable, only to the extent that they placed their imperfect faith in a perfectly faithful God.
Let’s take a walk through the Hall of Faith.
First in the registry of faithful followers is Abel, the second son of Adam and Eve. His older brother, Cain, murdered him, making Abel the first to die and the first to be martyred.
We know so little about the first family, but we know that they worked, and we know that they worshipped.
Cain was a farmer. He worked the ground. Abel was a shepherd, a keeper of sheep.
When it came time to bring an offering to the Lord, Cain brought some produce, maybe a bushel of barley, or a peck of peaches, or ... I have a sneaking suspicion that he brought a laundry basket full of over-ripe zucchini. Maybe?
Abel, the shepherd, took a little lamb, slaughtered it, and laid before the Lord the best portions of the meat.
God rejected Cain’s offering, whatever it might have been, but accepted Abel’s. “Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.”
And because Abel brought something better, God “commended him as righteous.” In fact, Jesus called him “righteous Abel.”
So what are we to learn? God didn’t care for peach pie, but He loved lamb chops... right? That’s obviously not the point.
The point is... Abel worshipped faithfully.
Remember, God had atoned for the sins of Abel’s parents by covering them with the skins of a sacrificed animal. I believe that Abel came to the altar, broken-hearted for his many failures, and offered that which he believed would atone. He came to God, trusting in the blood of the Substitute.
Today, the church building is locked up. We can’t do corporate worship like we always have. But we can worship... and we must worship. In our homes, today, right now, we can come before God like imperfect Abel... faithfully trusting in the One whose blood was shed to cover our sin.
Abel is in the Hall of Faith because he worshipped.
(Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 4:1-5; Matthew 23:35)