American Prosperity Didn't Happen by Mistake - 4 Proverbs Principles that Sustain America
Updated: Feb 3
In Part I of this blog series, we covered 3 economic principles that shaped & propelled America. In Part II, we'll discuss 4 Proverbs principles that have spelled success in America & further etched her name in the ranks of the prosperous.
Do you want to prosper? Near everyone should answer "yes" to this question. Here is another question that might not garner the same majority. Did you know that our country has prospered because it has taken serious heed to the Bible's conditions for prosperity? It's quite clear. Let's take a look at some of these principles.
The book of Proverbs is a treasure trove of wise sayings for all aspects of life. It offers a lot about money and wealth particularly. These principles apply to individuals and they can apply to nations. There are at least four ingredients, according to Proverbs, for having wealth. They are:
1. - Giving/Generosity - In Proverbs 11 we see the promise that those who are generous will prosper. How does that stack up to how we as a nation give of our money?
This can be measured in two ways: how American individuals give to charities, non-profits, and other causes, and how the government gives to countries in need through foreign aid. In both categories America is #1 in the world and has been for some time. The top graphic above offers a sense for the top givers to charity in the world in the last decade. To give you an idea how much American individuals give, consider numbers provided by Giving USA for 2018.
- Individuals gave a total of $292 Billion
- Corporations accounted for over $20 Billion
- Foundations & Bequests gave just short of $116 Billion
TOTAL: $428 Billion
The 2nd graphic above shows foreign aid numbers from the year 2015, provided by the OECD. As you can see, the United States is at the top, in fact, it gives $10 Billion more than 2nd place France.
"One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. "PROVERBS 11:24-25
2. - Work hard
Working hard has been the American way since its inception. It seems to be an innate characteristic of the American worker. Alexis de Tocqueville admired both the American system of government and the American work ethic as he observed America in his 1835 book "Democracy in America." Still today the output of the American worker is 2nd to none. And, as Proverbs 14:23 states, our hard work as a nation has led to much profit.
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." PROVERBS 14:23
Righteousness is a quality that's rewarded in reality and in scripture, specifically in the book of Proverbs. With righteousness comes the promises of life, prosperity, & honor. As a nation, and as a collection of individuals that make up that nation, we have pursued righteousness to a degree that surpasses all other nations, or at least almost all other nations. Our form of government is predicated on freedom, justice, the aversion to abuse of power & corruption, and the value of natural rights. This shouldn't be a surprise since our country was founded upon God and the Bible and still today near 2/3 of Americans identify as "Christians," by far the highest proportion than any country globally.
"Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor." PROVERBS 21:21
Much like our assessment of giving/generosity, debt can be broken into two categories: personal debt and national debt.
Currently, our national debt stands at a whopping $23 Trillion. Meanwhile, although reports vary, the average household debt is about $30-35,000, excluding home mortgage responsibilities. These are NOT encouraging numbers, but these weren't always characteristic of American consumers or the National Treasury. Racking up and not quickly paying off national debt is a fairly new phenomenon. Hillsdale College History Professor, Burton Folsom, points out that most American presidents ran surpluses, as opposed to owing money. Further, paying back debts rather aggressively seemed to be the goal for many of our earlier presidents. Only recently has this gotten out of hand and our national debt has climbed alarmingly. Personal debt has risen correspondingly, in fact Americans' propensity for irresponsible debt is one of the main reasons we slipped into a recession in 2008. This trend is troubling and one that I hope is reversed if we plan to continue to prosper as Americans.
"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." Proverbs 22:7
BONUS - A Domestic & Foreign Policy that Honors God & His People
Two pieces of diplomatic posturing have also been critical to our success that I simply cannot exclude from the discussion.
1. Our national position toward God - Although this has been under attack, we are still a predominantly Christian nation that enjoys much religious freedom, AND our currency, monuments, and documents still bear the name of our Lord. We've put into practice Psalm 33:12 - "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord..."
2. Our position toward Israel - Another great scriptural promise involves the treatment of Israel: "Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, And whoever curses Israel will be cursed." Numbers 24:9. America has long supported Israel and her welfare, financial stability, and sovereignty, and thus we've been blessed, not cursed.
We really do have it good as Americans. Although we're more prone to distraction and vanity as some of the most prosperous people in the world, it can't be forgotten that our wealth did not happen by mistake. To recap, our nation was dedicated to God, His values were implemented both in our governmental and economic systems, and His ways adopted largely by the American people. We've held God in high regard in our institutions and homes, and have made it a priority to show honor to Israel. We held to the Biblical view of private property, regulation, and taxes, AND we hit the four big Proverbs principles en route to prosperity: Generosity, Righteousness, Hard Work, and a healthy view of Debt. For these reasons America has enjoyed longstanding prosperity and wealth.
Let's pray we continue in this wisdom. God bless America
- J.F D'Orsie - Communications Director - PCC