Giving has always been an important way to worship and to invest in the Lord's work. It's also a spiritual barometer that measures our love for God. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there is your heart also" (Matthew 6:21). The principle is that our hearts follow our treasure.
How might we determine the priorities of one’s life? An important gauge for most of us is the checkbook. I've found that younger people don't write many checks anymore, and some don't own a checkbook. Great Britain will stop using paper checks at some point, so the USA is probably not too far behind the move to electronic banking. I saw Metro riders in D.C. swipe their wallets on the turnstile to ride the subway. Someone explained electronic readers could see the fare card inside the wallet. Maybe we'll do this at American supermarkets one day.
In whatever way we spend our money, our money is a solid indicator of our priorities.
March 6 is a memorable day when we commemorate 180 brave Texans who died at the Alamo in San Antonio in 1836. The commander-in-chief of the Republic of Texas was Gen. Sam Houston who turned the tide and defeated Santa Anna on April 21 at San Jacinto.
Houston was a hard-living man who finally came to Christ about 10 years before his death in 1863. His conversion was in large measure the result of his wife Margaret's witness.
Margaret Lea grew up in Marion, Ala. and was schooled at the Judson Female Institute, now Judson College. Her father, Temple, had been a circuit-riding Baptist preacher, and her mother, Nancy, had the distinction of being the only female delegate to the meeting in Greensboro in 1823 when the Alabama Baptist Convention was founded.
Houston met Margaret in Mobile and married her in 1840. Margaret was his third wife, and by all accounts, his favorite!
On the day he trusted Christ, Houston came forward and took the hand of the pastor. "I give you my hand and with it I give my heart to the Lord," he said. Houston was baptized in a local creek the same day. When the pastor raised him from the water he said, "Sam, all your sins are washed away." To which Houston replied, "God help the fishes!"
Another interesting fact is that Houston found he'd mistakenly left his wallet in his baptism clothes.
"Preacher," he said, "you baptized my pocketbook!"
This was prophetic, for Houston gave generously to his church for the rest of his life, and also supported a new Baptist school in Waco that was to become Baylor University.
On the day of our baptism, we all should've baptized our pocketbooks, too.