Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is like a song you can’t get out of your head.  The more you try, the more places you hear it.  I wonder, though, if the slogan is accomplishing its intended goals?  On a recent radio show in Russellville, KY, I heard a woman call in to bemoan how awful America is.  She didn’t have any specific facts or issues, but she rambled on and on lamenting about how terrible it is to live in America today.

Her comments triggered memories of mission trips I’ve taken outside of the United States.  I thought about the smoldering and smelly piles of trash along the village streets where we worked in Honduras.  And how the children live on only beans and rice day after day.  I remembered meeting some of the people that live in the city dump in Reynosa, Mexico.  They were grateful for a hot dog and a cup of beans. It was more than they’d eaten in a day or two.  I thought about the families in a small coastal village in Senegal that were worried about the severity of their children’s illnesses.  Most of the illnesses would have been easily treatable by medicine Americans can get easily.

When I hear the call to make America great again I must admit that I hear a call to make America rich again.  I’ll go farther and say that I hear a call to make me rich.  Maybe that isn’t what Trump means, but I believe it’s how many people interpret it. I’m learning true riches can’t be deposited in a bank, and, often, they can’t even be seen.  That’s because they’re wrapped in thankfulness and generosity.

Randy Alcorn writes, “Christians give because it is a natural response to the gospel of God’s grace. Because God has given us his Son, it is only fitting that we should offer ourselves as sacrifices to him, and specifically in part by giving our money. We do not give fearfully in order to receive God’s grace, but joyfully because we have already received God’s grace. For this reason, all Christians—not just the wealthy—are called to practice radical gospel generosity.”

Since becoming a U.S. Senator for Nebraska in 2014, Ben Sasse told WORLD Magazine his views on financial aid to foreign countries have changed, “Before I started paying close attention to foreign policy, I believed the popular myth that somehow we spend an insane amount on foreign aid. If you ask Americans how much money we’re spending on foreign aid, the most common guesstimate is 25 to 30 percent of the budget. It’s actually 24/100ths of 1 percent of the budget.”  Sasse admits that some of the money is used ineffectively or in fraudulent ways, but he now believes we should consider how we can give more to help others around the world.

If you think America is a terrible place to live, I encourage you to get a passport and do a little traveling.  The countries I mentioned aren’t third-world countries.  Spend a day in a refugee camp or in one of the poorest parts of the world.  Yes, there is great need  in America, even here in Kentucky, but God has blessed most of us with resources to serve others at home and around the world.

A few of the steps to make America great again are for us to increase the practice of thankfulness and generosity.  If I made a bumper sticker that said “Make America Thankful Again” or “Make America Generous Again” would you put it on your car?