“In Jesus Christ dwells all the fullness of the Divine bodily.” - Colossians 2:6, 9
Kempton New Church

Week 4
Day 5

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The Uses of Occupations

Every man who looks to the Lord and shuns evils as sin, if he sincerely, justly, and faithfully does the work of his office and employment, becomes a form of charity. —Charity 158

Charity with Captains and Sailors

John 6:16-20. And when it was evening, His disciples went down to the sea, and entering into the ship, they went across the sea toward Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not come to them. And, a great wind blowing, the sea was awakened. Then having rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they behold Jesus walking on the sea and coming near to the ship; and they were afraid. But He says to them, I am; be not afraid.

Charity 170. Charity in Ship’s Captains. Captains to whom ships and merchandise are entrusted, or who own them, also become charities if they look to the Lord and shun evils as sins, and conduct their business sincerely, justly, and faithfully. Their occupation is a greater good of use than many others, because by means of it there is communication, and, as it were, conjunction of the whole world with its parts, and of its parts with the whole. And this excellent work is a good of use, that is, a good of charity, in them, when from their knowledge they act prudently; when they perform their duties with vigilance and sobriety, that the voyage may be successful; when they do not rashly expose themselves to danger, nor lose their courage when in the midst of dangers unforeseen, and being saved from them render praise and thanks to the Lord; when they deal justly and sincerely by their seamen, faithfully with the owners of their vessels, and justly with the foreigners to whom their vessel comes.

They hold no share with pirates and are content with their pay and their legitimate gains beyond it. Men that traverse the sea, who are charities, and who look to the Lord and shun evils as sins, and do their duty sincerely, justly, and faithfully, are more devout in their morning and evening prayers and songs than landsmen, because they trust more to the Divine Providence. I counsel seafarers hereafter to pray to the Lord, for He and no other is God of heaven and earth and sea (John 3:35; 17:12; Matt. 11:27).

Charity 171. Charity in Sailors. Sailors also become charities, if, while they perform their duty sincerely, justly, and faithfully, they look to the Lord and shun evils as sins. For when they shun evils as sins they shun the devil, for the devil is evil itself; and then they are accepted by the Lord, and the goods that they then do they do from the Lord. And they do good in no other way, continuously, than in the performance of their own work that is enjoined upon them, which is that of a seaman. That work is a good work, because it is a good of use; and to have love towards the neighbor, or charity, is nothing else than to do the good of use. And when they shun the devil and are accepted by the Lord they do not commit the evils described in the Decalogue; that is, they do not murder, they do not commit adultery, they do not steal, they do not bear false witness. For no one does these things who loves the neighbor.

For he who bears such hatred to someone that he would murder him does not love the neighbor; he who would commit adultery with another’s wife does not love the neighbor; he who would steal and rob him of his goods does not love the neighbor; he who would testify falsely against him does not love the neighbor; and so on. These are the evils which those who look to the Lord especially shun. And then they have no fear of death, for if they die they die in the Lord, and go to heaven; and there all love each other as brothers and companions, and render mutual good services.

And I exhort sailors also, as I have just done shipmasters, to go to the Lord and pray to Him; for there is no other God of heaven, earth, and sea.

Questions and Comments
  1. Charity 170 refers to shipmasters as performing “a greater good of use than many others, because by means of it there is communication, and, as it were, conjunction of the whole world with its parts.” What other occupations seem to serve a similar function today?
  2. Can you think of examples where people in modern times serving similar uses as shipmasters have shown as it says in Charity 170, “courage when in the midst of dangers unforeseen?”
  3. Why do you think the Lord addressed a section in Charity to shipmasters and sailors? How can it apply to us today?
  4. What do you think about the Lord’s special advice to shipmasters and sailors to pray to the Lord?
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