Martha Scarborough celebrated Independence Day, July 4, 1870, by giving birth to a son, Lee. When the boy was eight, Martha and her husband George, a part-time Baptist preacher, moved to Texas to raise cattle and share Christ. A dugout shelter first served as home, then a log cabin near Clear Fork Creek. George and Martha dreamed of a beautiful house atop a nearby hill. They saved frugally, but times were lean, and years passed before they accumulated enough to proceed with the long-discussed house. Lee, meanwhile, grew into a brawny 16-year-old cowboy.
One day, their work behind them, George said to Martha, “Let’s go up the hill and select a suitable place for the home. We have saved money for that purpose, so we had as well begin plans to build.” Arm in arm, the couple strolled to the grassy crest of the hill behind their cabin. This was a moment long anticipated. At the top of the hill, he said, “Here is the place. This is the most suitable location we can find.” But Martha turned toward him, her eyes filling with tears. “My dear,” she said, “I do appreciate your desire to build me a new, comfortable home on this place of beauty, but there is another call for our money which is far greater. Let’s live on in the old house and put this money in the head and heart of our boy. I fear that if we use this money to build a home we shall never be able to send Lee to college. I would rather a thousand times that we should never build this house if we can invest the money in our boy.”
George was disappointed, and he said little for several days. Finally one evening past midnight he yielded. The house was never built, but Lee Scarborough left home on January 8, 1888, for Baylor College in Waco, Texas. He eventually became a powerhouse for Christ, a Southern Baptist leader, a writer, a seminary president, a pastor, an evangelist, and a business leader who built colleges, seminaries, churches, hospitals, and mission stations around the world.
Invest in truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense, And don’t part with them. Make your father truly happy by living right And showing sound judgment. Make your parents proud, especially your mother. (Proverbs 23:23-25)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). July 4.