“Peace has in it confidence in the Lord: that He directs all things, provides all things, and that He leads to a good end.” - Arcana Caelestia §8455
Kempton New Church

Week 5
Day 6


The Uses of Business

The kingdom of the heavens is like a man, a merchant, seeking beautiful pearls —Matthew 13

Business and the life after death

Matthew 20:26-28. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever will become great among you, let him be your minister, and whoever will be first among you, let him be your servant, as the Son of Man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His soul a ransom for many.

HH 360:2. Man can be formed for heaven only by means of the world. In the world are the outmost effects in which everyone’s affection must be terminated; for unless affection puts itself forth or flows out into acts, which is done in association with others, it is suffocated to such a degree that finally man no longer has any regard for the neighbor, but only for himself. All this makes clear that a life of charity towards the neighbor, which is doing what is just and right in every work and in every employment, is what leads to heaven, and not a life of piety apart from charity. And from this it follows that only to the extent that man is engaged in the employments of life can charity be exercised and the life of charity grow; and this is impossible to the extent that man separates himself from those employments.

HH 360:3. On this subject I will speak now from experience. Of those who while in the world were employed in trade and commerce and became rich through these pursuits there are many in heaven, but not so many of those who were in stations of honor and became rich through those employments….

HH 528:2. … To receive the life of heaven a man must live in the world and engage in its business and employments, and by means of a moral and civil life there receive the spiritual life. In no other way can the spiritual life be formed in man, or his spirit prepared for heaven. For to live an internal life [of prayer and piety] and not at the same time an external life is like dwelling in a house that has no foundation, that gradually sinks or becomes cracked and rent asunder, or totters till it falls. [See also HH 535.]

SD 3506. When the conversation turned upon their republic, and they said that they act in this manner [fraudulently] and become rich so that they might be able to resist the enemies that bordered upon them, it was said to them that this could not be their real end, for if they should learn that larger gains were to be made elsewhere, they would immediately convey themselves there with their wealth and leave the republic to take care of itself, which they confessed….

It was also shown them that business was not in itself an evil, for men might manufacture swords, muskets, and gunpowder, and yet be good men, although thus fabricating instruments which were destructive to the human race. For they do not think of nor regard the use to which they are to be applied. They only think that such things are necessary for the defense of society, which they surely are while societies are such [as they are].

Divine Love 6:2. Those in the several kingdoms who love the uses of their offices because they are uses, appear together as a man- angel. And those who love the uses of their offices for the sake of pleasures alone apart from uses appear together as a man-devil. Traders, in the man-angel, are those who love trading, and love wealth for the sake of trading, and at the same time look to God; but traders, in the man-devil, are those who love wealth, and love trading only for the sake of wealth. With the latter there is avarice, which is a root of all evils, but not with the former. For to love wealth alone, and not any use that may come of it, that is, to regard wealth in the first place and trading as secondary, is to be avaricious. Such men are useful to a kingdom, but chiefly when they die, for then their wealth passes into the public use of those engaged in trade. The benefit that then accrues from such wealth is a benefit to the kingdom, but not to the souls of those who gathered it.

Questions and Comments
  1. We are born to be servants to the Lord and to each other, and to find great happiness in serving. What are some keys or tricks to helping our children and ourselves overcome our natural tendency to seek to be served by others instead of to serve them?
  2. The third commandment says, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work [or occupation], and the seventh day is the Sabbath to Jehovah thy God.” Do most people these days not work a full six-day week? If not, is this a problem? On the other hand, do we have a widespread problem of workaholism to the neglect of the family and the Sabbath?
  3. Spiritually, one of the main points of our 40-hour workweek is to cultivate the love of serving our neighbors through just and faithful work. Are some jobs and work environments destructive of charity, or is it more a matter of the attitude and approach we bring?
  4. Does HH 360:3 indicate that we should encourage our children to go into business rather than politics?
  5. Does SD 3506 indicate that it is wrong or at least unpatriotic for a company to move its operations offshore in order to avoid taxation and make greater profits?
  6. Should a New Church moral investment portfolio avoid defense contractors?
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