Does the Bible declare that labor which results in a profit for the laborer morally unjust or evil? Does a business plan that includes a justification of the "profit motive" for future business growth and financial stability inevitably promote the vices of greed and extortion?

The Old Testament example of the Israelites and the inheritance God gave to each family in the Promised Land provides an insight into the plan and purpose of God for His chosen people. God originally called a man by the name of Abraham from the city of Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan where Abraham lived for nearly a century (Genesis 12:1-4; 25:7). Under God's blessing and Abraham's careful management of his resources, Abraham became a very rich man (Genesis 13:2). Both Isaac and Jacob inherited wealth from Abraham. God sought to bring light to the Canaanites for 400 years during the age of the Patriarchs, but they refused to turn from their evil ways, and God brought judgment by the hands of the Israelites as they entered and conquered the land. The land of Israel was divided by Joshua among the tribes and the individual families within each tribe were given land that passed to successive generations by inheritance. The land was privately owned and the business endeavors undertaken by each Israeli, whether farming, viticulture, raising cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys or camels, masonry, metalworking or weaving was to produce a surplus above basic needs of consumption that could be sold for a profit. There is no evidence that Joshua, or the judges, or even the kings of Israel fixed the prices of traded goods, but they did levy taxes on goods that were sold.

The Scriptures present diligent labor as honorable and as the condition for prosperity (Proverbs 10:4; 13:4). The slothful or lazy man is condemned to poverty and want. Jesus confirmed by factual observation that poverty and need would never be fully eliminated from the earth (Matthew 26:11). However, the man who was diligent in honest work could eventually accumulate a surplus from which he could freely and compassionately share with those who had a genuine need (Ephesians 4:28). The Roman Empire employed private tax collectors to collect levied taxes upon individuals and businesses. However, tax collectors had fallen into ill repute since they extorted much more than the tax to line their own pockets with the money of others. Zaccheus, a tax collector who met Jesus, gives evidence of his genuine conversion by willingly giving half of his ill-gotten wealth to the poor, and refunding 4 times the amount of money he had forcibly extorted from others by fraudulent means. In every example I could find in Scripture where assistance to the poor was encouraged, the charity was not forcibly taken from the giver, but rather given freely. Even though the Son of God paid his taxes that were levied, He counseled tax collectors who came to be baptized to collect no more that the percentage that was allotted by Rome.

The employee deserves his paycheck and every man who labors hard expects to receive his own reward in proportion to the investment he has made in both resources and effort. We must oppose any and all efforts by any government that misuses its God-given authority to forcibly seize large amounts of money through onerous taxation from certain members of society simply because they possess more resources. As a man purposes in his heart, even as he obediently gives willingly and joyfully to God, so let him also give freely from the goodness of his heart to his neighbor.

"Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour." (1 Corinthians 3:8)