Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Washington noted, "Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." He also warned of "the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts" and "against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue."

Washington's words are worthy of consideration in a time where there is much partisanship and much debt being run up.

Lincoln was likewise outspoken about God's role in our nation's history. "The will of God prevails," he wrote. "In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war, it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party -- and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are for the best adaptation to effect his purpose."

Lincoln closed his second inaugural address by reaching out to the Confederacy and reminding the Union that victory should be accompanied by grace. "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in."

The understanding that Lincoln was an instrument in the hand of God was echoed throughout his second inaugural address, and reminds me that we should be aware that we are all instruments in the hand of God, and best serve our country when we best serve God.

We are currently at a crossroads within our country. Will we hold up our Constitution and take warning from Washington of partisanship, debt and foreign intrigue? We will remember Lincoln's words that "human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are for the best adaptation to effect his purpose"?

Will we strive to finish the work we are in, while remembering we are but instruments in the hand of God?

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.