"In God we trust." It's one of our American values printed on every coin. Our founding fathers referred here to the God of the Bible -- the Creator of Heaven and earth. We know this because they used the Bible as the foundation for the attitudes expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution. It's what sets America apart from every other nation, but what does it mean?
If we trust in God, then we look to God for our welfare and protection. If we are cared for by a dear Father in Heaven, then that frees us to be generous to others, just as He is to us.
Some of that attitude is exactly what happened in our nation. Until recently America had become known as the most generous and benevolent nation in the world. God's care of us and the prosperity he gave us prompted us to extend our hand to others around the world that were less fortunate and say, "Give me your tired and your poor."
The immigrants that came to our shores were full of energy, enthusiasm, and hope for a better life. Their acceptance by Americans spurred them to work hard and often create a life out of nothing. They made our whole nation better and the more we took care of the poor around us, the more God blessed us just like he promised he would. "If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord --- and he will repay you." (Proverbs 19:17)
In recent days there is a shift going on. The customers I serve in my business express that business has gotten better on the whole, but things still aren't right in the nation. Citizens are divided, on edge and fearful. There has been a shift in our attitude, starting with the president, that this cloud of darkness is to be blamed on the immigrants who are draining our resources and "invading" the land.
This is opposite thinking to where we began -- trusting in God. We aren't the first nation that has had this shift in thinking. Over 2,000 years ago Jesus asked the Jewish nation this question: "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:26)
I believe this is the question confronting us today. As God has blessed the American people, they have gotten richer and richer. We now own more, eat more, play more, and travel more than at any time in our history. Yet, as the richest people in the world we have become less tolerant, less concerned for others and more tight fisted to hang onto what we have for ourselves. We have forgotten that all we have comes from the blessing of God and as a result we are seeing leanness come into our souls.
As citizens our main power lies in voting for leaders who are honest, truthful and who love those they serve. This is more important than party affiliation -- for good fruit will only come from a leader with good character. It's then up to us to refocus on the two priorities that God gives to each of us. They are: to love God and then to love our neighbors as ourselves.
For those claiming that a good economy is all that matters, they are deceiving themselves. If we lose the generous, loving character that we started with, then it also means losing the blessing of the God we are to trust.
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