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The Power of Uses in Spiritual Entrepreneurship

By Sheri Smith

In the evolving world of work, there’s a compelling idea that stands out – the concept of usefulness. This notion suggests that every person has a unique purpose, a special role connected to the divine creator within us all. According to Emanuel Swedenborg, everything in the world is a result of divine love and wisdom, making each creation a reflection of these spiritual aspects. This idea goes beyond our earthly life, as Swedenborg believed we continue our unique roles in the heavenly realms after we transition. Wilson Van Dusen explored this idea further in his landmark 1981 essay Uses: A Way of Personal and Spiritual Growth.

The idea of uses also finds resonance in the wisdom of Jewish sages, who suggest that even a small act of kindness to an insignificant person on Earth can be a soul’s reason to descending to the earthly realms. It challenges the notion that our purpose must be grand or noteworthy. Instead, finding our usefulness aligns with the belief that God has a meaningful plan for each person, no matter how seemingly ordinary their actions.

Many of us have a sense that we’re meant to do fulfilling work, work that aligns with our natural talents and passions. This is why I was drawn to Swedenborg’s writings and the Church of the Holy City in Washington D.C. They validate this belief. Swedenborg also describes how angels find great joy in their ongoing work in heaven, which becomes ever more perfectly suited to their abilities. Heaven is a place where everyone has a role that brings them inner happiness:

In heaven everyone comes into his own occupation…. He comes into the employment or occupation corresponding to his use in much the same conditions of life as when he was in the world…. Yet there is this difference, that he then comes into an interior delight, because into spiritual life…and therefore more receptive of heavenly blessedness. (Heaven and Hell §394)

In Swedenborg’s vision, heaven operates as a harmonious community where everyone works together for the greater good. In contrast, those in hell work for their own selfish gain, creating a discordant environment.

What we do on Earth has a connection to our spiritual life. The communities we engage with here reflect the ones we connect with in the spiritual realm. This highlights the importance of finding meaningful work on Earth and collaborating with others in our communities.

This concept lies at the heart of my mission and the founding of the Indigo Education Company. I believe that Spiritual Entrepreneurship is the future of work. By helping people discover work that aligns with their higher purpose and aims to spread love, we can make a positive impact on both the physical and spiritual realms.

In our denomination, this year’s theme centers around “spiritual uses.” It’s a chance for us to reflect on how God sees us, emphasizing that the way we live, the things we cherish, and the actions we take have significance, not just in this life, but in the next one too. What we do here on Earth resonates in the spiritual realm, and what happens there has an impact on our lives here. The concept of spiritual uses guides us toward a future of work filled with purpose, spirituality, and deep connections. 

Read the full issue of the January – March 2024 Messenger

Meet Sheri Smith

Sheri Smith, M.A. serves as Board Secretary for the Church of the Holy City in Washington, D.C. She is an alumna of American and Georgetown Universities. In her recent book, “Spiritual Entrepreneurship: Raw Reflections of a Female CEO,” Sheri explores how her discovery of Swedenborg inspired her to approach business with a focus on expanding love. In 2013, she founded the Indigo Education Company driven by a mission to empower the divine spark in all individuals.