(The following is obviously my personal opinion from my Christian worldview. If it offends you, then I apologize for the disturbance, but not for my content.)

If you have ever been on a mission trip to a lesser developed country, you probably witnessed that native people, especially children, seem to be happy despite their horrible living conditions. Why is that? Perhaps because they are not so spoiled as we are? I wonder if that will continue as they access cellphones and see all of our toys they do not have.

This American holiday is probably my favorite. It began as a feast (no matter the exact circumstances or participants) of incredibly poor people thanking God for their very lives. So many immigrants had already died and more would die soon.

The observance is really not about stuff – not NFL football, not Black Friday deals, nor any of the superficial trinkets we pile up around us. In my view, it is all about the grace of Almighty God, Creator of the universe, owner of everything including you and me. For His own purpose of love, He desires a relationship with each of the seven billion souls currently on this globe. For this message I take to be true, I am extremely grateful.

While He focuses upon each individual, collectively we here in the United States have been enjoying the fruits and heritage of a people who worshiped God, albeit imperfectly. Yes, our founding was imperfect. It is easy to note there were slaves in the Western Hemisphere, including the colonies. This despicable condition of the past several thousand years existed almost everywhere at that time. (However there are more people enslaved now than ever in the history of the world. We are still fighting it.)

One can cite many imperfections not only in our national roots, but which also continued for decades or centuries in our development. But there has not been any other single country so dedicated to improving, to become right in ourselves and in our behaviors within the United States and with respect to all those in the world.

During most of our history, the great advances in this process have come from those who worship this God of the Jews and Christians. As in England, these people were the instigators who would risk the very division of the Union in order to free slaves. Also long before there was a government welfare program, churches and synagogues provided food, clothing, shelter, began schools, colleges and universities, and hospitals as well.

Although such beliefs and principles are coming under attack seemingly from all quarters, I am confident that God will continue to reward those who desire His grace and mercy and that they will continue to make a significant difference for the good of others. I am grateful that at this time of history, I have the freedom to state my beliefs and you, gentle reader, have the freedom to evaluate this and other communications and to accept them or reject them.

In closing, I wish you well and hope you and your family enjoy this week and holiday. I will be openly thanking God for His goodness to us in spite of our never-ending imperfections and transgressions.

(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)

Ron Finke is president of Stewardship Capital in Independence. He is a registered investment adviser. Reach him at rcfinke@stewcap.com.