In Genesis 4 we find the chilling account of Cain killing his brother Abel. After Cain is sent away, Moses gives a summary of Cain's apparently numerous descendants (Gen. 4:14-24). One gets the impression that some of these are very impressive people. They are inventors of music, they learn how to raise livestock, they develop the means by which to forge iron and bronze, and they build cities. They seem to be the movers and the shakers the important people of the day. There's just one problem, their hearts are full of evil. One of Cain's descendants, Lamech, writes this poem, "I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold” (Gen 4:23-24).
Adam and Eve had another son, Seth, (along with other sons and daughters). We learn of Seth's descendants in Genesis 5, but at the end of Chapter 4 we read this, "To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD" (Gen. 4:26). That is the great accomplishment of Seth's line, "they began to call upon the name of the Lord." What a contrast with the descendants of Cain! In the eyes of Scripture, Seth's descendants are most notable because they called on the name of the Lord.
Of course, the patriarch Noah is a descendant of Seth. Humanity would be saved from the destruction of the flood through Noah and his family on the ark. "Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord." Of all the people of the earth, only Noah and his family were found to hold fast to the mercy and promises of God. The great men of Genesis 4 were destroyed in the flood, while the family who called upon the name of the Lord was spared. It is not for greatness in this life that we strive. Fame and riches pass away. Rather we are to be those who call upon the name of the Lord. We are those who are to gladly hear the Lord's word, attend the Divine Service to receive His gifts, and lead lives of repentance and faith in God's mercy for Jesus' sake. The world may not be impressed with us, but God will keep us secure in the ark of His church unto eternal life.