As my husband has pointed out to me innumerable times, our checkbook balance is not unlimited. Although spiritually I'm the daughter of the King of kings, I am also a working man's wife.
One day while balancing my checkbook, I realized it had some stories to tell.
For example, there was the check to our family physician for my annual checkup. Here I was going into middle age and had never had any serious illnesses or surgeries. An occasional ache of arthritis or bout with the flu only served to underscore my general good health.
Then there was the check for the flowers ordered for a friend whose husband had died. She was widowed at a young age, whereas I still had my husband. Having observed how difficult life as a widow was, with the attendant loneliness, decisions, and added duties, I appreciated my husband all the more. Better to cheerfully accept his cluttering up the place and have his companionship, than to have an immaculate but silent house. And how odd it is that one tends to remember only the good qualities of someone who has died. Perhaps that illustrates how insignificant their faults really are.
Further on was a check I'd written for Christian books. For a few dollars I could enjoy the companionship of such giants of the faith as Spurgeon, Moody, Martin Luther, and more contemporary writers such as C. S. Lewis, James Johnson, and Joyce Landorf.
Here was the check for my new glasses. Getting used to bifocals was such a bit of an adjustment at first, as well as a blow to my ego. Then I realized with shame my silliness. For one of my dearest Christian friends was a blind woman. In the five years I had known her I never once her complain about not being able to see the sun rise or set. She always used the term "I saw," for she had learned to see with her mind's eye. I had enjoyed helping her in various ways, but vowed to do even more for her in the future. I realized anew that having sight, even with bifocals, was a priceless blessing.
I was embarrassed as I reviewed the checks I wrote for groceries for my own family in comparison to the ones I wrote for the organization which sent food to the hungry of the world.
The utility bills were getting bigger every month. Yet we had missionary friends in the sweltering jungles of Kenya and Surinam who would be grateful for the air conditioning and lights afforded us at the flick of a switch.
There was the check for the special missionary offering at church. The amount was small compared to the next one, which paid for our new living room furniture and drapes. Was the redecorating of my home on earth more important than winning souls for the Lord? What kind of furniture and drapes would be in my heavenly mansion if the Lord had to rely on what I was sending on ahead?
All in all, by the time I finished balancing my checkbook I felt as though I had heard two sermons, one on counting my blessings and the other on stewardship.
Now! do not believe God is calling me to a vow of poverty. Not that He expects me to live in a shack, wear rags, and live on bread and water. I believe we should live according to our station in life with gratitude for His material blessings. But, on the other hand, haven't I come a long way from the song I used to sing, "I'm satisfied with a cottage below. . . Truly I might now seem to be saying ". . Just a two-bathroom ranch house with central air conditioning, built-in dishwasher, and two cars in the attached garage."
Was I becoming like Lot's wife, so enamored by my earthly home that when God's call came, I would look back with regret at that home? Shouldn't I rather be looking forward with anticipation to Christ's return? God had richly blessed me with a home, but my newly balanced checkbook reminded me He wants me to love Him, the Giver, more than His gifts.
Truly, I feel richly blessed now that I have surveyed my wealth through new eyes. I want to count my blessings regularly, letting my checkbook reflect more accurately what I really consider important, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart he also" (Matt. 6:21).