My grandfather 13 generations back was William Bradford, co-writer of the Mayflower Compact and eventual leader of the Pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower in 1620. There were some 102 passengers and about 30 crewmen on that ship that braved horrible weather, disease, and other hardships to come to this new place that later would become the greatest Christian nation in the world. Bradford wrote, “So they committed themselves to the will of God, and resolved to proceed. In several of these storms, the wind was so strong and the seas so high that they could not carry a knot of sail, but were forced to hull for many days.” The trip in and of itself to find a place to worship without persecution was most difficult.
Once landed, it was no picnic either. Bradford says, “But soon a most lamentable blow fell upon them. In two or three months’ time, half of their company died…scarcely 50 remained, and sometimes two or three persons died in a day. In the time of worst distress, there were but six or seven sound persons, who, to their great commendation be it spoken, spared no pains night or day, but with great toil and at the risk of their own health, fetched wood, made fires, prepared food for the sick, made their beds, washed their infected clothes, dressed and undressed them; in a word did all the homely and necessary services for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear mentioned.”
“…And what I have said of these few, I should say of many others who died in this general visitation, and others yet living, that while they had health or strength, they forsook none that had need of them. I doubt not that their recompense is with the Lord.”
Their Virginia Company Charter, however, called for common ownership of land, property, food, drink, clothing, and provisions. Bradford saw that this socialist experiment was detrimental to the colony because it inspired laziness and a lack of productivity. Bradford then did away with this structure, giving ownership of land to each person and two days a week for “their own private employment.” This was the first capitalist system, and the colony then prospered.
The headlines 398 years later are that nearly 39 million Americans (the total population of California and Connecticut combined) likely will eat their Thanksgiving dinner purchased by food stamps. Liberals say, without the government, these people would starve. In reality, without the government, the citizens across the land would be blessed as the Pilgrims were by reaching out and helping their neighbor from the goodness of their hearts.
As written in 2 Corinthians 9:11-12, “Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God.”
Bradford knew in 1620 that government won’t save you. Only the Lord will save you. He chooses to do it through his people.