Abraham Lincoln was a great president, one of the greatest, but while the presidency defined his life in our minds, it was only a small part of the sum total of his life. His presidency ran from 1861 to his assassination on April 14, 1865, and subsequent death on April 15, 1865. Nevertheless, Abraham Lincoln was an amazing president and brought this country out of a dark time in our history.

Lincoln was a self-educated man, and he tried a number of occupations. One of them was bartending. It’s strange to think of President Lincoln as a licensed bartender. It’s not that there is anything wrong with bartending, and in fact, many American historical figures were involved in the alcohol industry. George Washington owned the largest whiskey distillery according to Mount Vernon’s official website, and according to Monticello’s website, Thomas Jefferson was also fascinated with beer brewing. Even Sam Adams, who was not a brewer, was involved in the industry, in that he made malt for the breweries. For his part, Lincoln, who would become the 16th president, opened up a bar called “Berry and Lincoln” with his friend William F Berry in New Salem, Illinois in 1833.

When Lincoln came home from serving in the Black Hawk War, which was the war between the United States and Native Americans, he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He thought about becoming a blacksmith, but then he reconnected with William Berry, who had been in his militia group. The two men hit it off, and eventually decided to open a general store in New Salem, Illinois. The store was called the Berry-Lincoln Grocery, and maybe it would have been better if this was as far as things went. At that time, stores were allowed to sell larger quantities of alcohol for drinking off-site. However, if they wanted their customers to be able to drink inside the sore, they would need to purchase a license. They were granted a tavern license which cost $7 in those days. Berry took charge of getting the license. They sold a variety of brandy flavors, including apple brandy, peach brandy, and even French brandy, among others. They also sold wine, rum, and two kinds of gin.

Lincoln wasn’t much interested in tending bar. He was more focused on serving as postmaster. So, it was decided that Barry would run the bar part of the store and Lincoln would run the store’s post office. For a time, the Berry-Lincoln Grocery did fine, but then things began to change. It turned out Berry was an alcoholic who took advantage of the store’s license to sell drinks. It gave him the ability to drink while working, and sometimes he was too drunk to function. So, Lincoln took more and more responsibility. Unfortunately, the whole situation led to the partners, taking on more debt. Eventually, Lincoln was done with the whole thing, and he sold his interest in the store to Berry in 1833. Just two years later, before Lincoln could be completely freed of the place, Berry died, leaving Lincoln to inherit the business’s debts. It was an awful situation, which was only resolved when Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1847, giving him enough of an income to clear the debts. Having had quite enough of the bartending/store owning industry, Lincoln became a lawyer and eventually a politician, which led to the great president we have all studied about, as well, of course, as his assassination.

In a world of instant gratitude, being patient is not well received. We want a diet pill that instantly makes us thin. We charge things so we don’t have to save for them. We want instant income, instant fame, instant expertise, and the list goes on and on.

In The Message version of the Bible, Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” God want’s us to be content with what we have, and patient enough to wait for him to bring blessings to us. When we get “let-me-help-itis”, we get into trouble.

Being patient is important in everyday life too. We have to work to get where we want to be, and most times the road there takes a while, but isn’t a worthwhile goal worth the trip? There is such a sense of satisfaction when you finally reach a goal you set for yourself. You can be proud of what you have achieved.

The goal of being debt free is such a great goal, and it is Biblical too. Not many people get there, but with hard work and patience it is a goal that can be achieved. Of course the first move to make is, stop charging! Begin to save up for things you want, and pay as much as possible on existing debt. As cards are paid off, add that payment to remaining payments to pay everything off faster. The beauty of this is that you get to spend more of your own money when you aren’t paying interest to other people.

These are just a couple of goal setting ideas, and reasons to take this journey. I’m sure you have goals you want to reach. Be patient and work toward your goals. You can do it, if you don’t give up.

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