Abraham Lincoln’s Encouragement to Industry and Enterprise

We find personal incentive and reward to be at the core of Biblical economics and also central to the principles of capitalism. In looking at what the New Testament says about personal incentive and reward, we find the following words in 1 Timothy 5:18.

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

Here Timothy is speaking of financially rewarding church leaders for their service, but the principle extends to all. Timothy quotes from Paul in Corinthians where he references the Old Testament talking about not muzzling an ox. Timothy also quotes Jesus talking about a worker deserving his wages. A clear theme Biblical theme emerges teaching us the importance of personal incentive and reward.

Fortunately for those of us living in the United States, this Judeo Christian worldview was present at its founding and incorporated throughout. Consider the following quote from Abraham Lincoln…

Property is the fruit of labor. Property is desirable, is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently to build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence… I take it that it is best for all, to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich: it would do more harm than good.”

So work. Be blessed. Live joyfully. Save expectantly. Give generously.

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