Sabbath Business Meetings?

Meeting- church members

On any given Sabbath, we could be observing a gathering like pictured above. It would be a –Sabbath church council meeting. Many members of the church gather together to discuss topics such as, bill paying, allocating funds for church business/activities, current and future projects and/or the financial requirements, etc.

But as anything we do, we should follow the Lord’s word in our actions. What does Inspiration tell us about this all too common practice among us as Seventh-day Adventists? Let us look at the “Thus sayeth the Lord.”

As we are well aware, being SDA, our hallmark sign is our obedience to the Lord’s 4th Commandment. We understand this to be absolutely crucial in our Christian walk with the Lord. No one can dispute this. But it seems there are two camps today in our church. One, the people who seem to think a “general” observance is required, i.e show up to church, do the service, continue the rest of the day doing more or less your own thing albeit in a religious cloak. They shun the obvious such as working in secular work, buying and selling, worldly activities like movies, TV shows , music, etc.

Then we have the other camp. While observing the above as well, they make it more of a serious observance. Not that they are being Pharisaic, rather the Lord’s honor is a prime concern for them. The “Thus sayeth the Lord” is their guideline. Observance even in the fine points matters to them.

A fine point, or maybe we should say a main point would be a Sabbath council member meeting. Would this issue be a concern to the Lord? Let’s see.

Before we begin let’s look at some foundation quotes concerning the Sabbath–

“Those who wish to be blest and approved of the Lord in this world, and who expect to finally be saved, and have right to the tree of life, must keep the Sabbath holy. They should pray daily for grace and wisdom to keep from polluting it in any way. Isaiah says: “Every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain.”(The Youth’s Instructor, Feb. 1, 1853)

“There is need of a Sabbath reform among us, who profess to observe God’s holy rest-day. Some discuss their business matters and lay plans on the Sabbath, and God looks upon this in the same light as though they engaged in the actual transaction of business.” (Review and Herald, March 18, 1884)

“Any work that is neglected until the commencement of holy time, should remain undone until the Sabbath is past. This course might help the memory of these thoughtless ones, and make them more careful to do their own work on the six working days.” (Signs of the Times, Feb. 7, 1911)

“There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.” (Lev. 23:3)

In 1912 W.C. White (EGW’s son) answered a letter concerning what EGW wrote concerning the offering and purchasing of periodicals and subscriptions ( even religious) during Sabbath. She was 84 at the time and had limited time/energy to respond to all the requests that came in.

He wrote, “The question of proper Sabbath observance is one about which Mother has often spoken. She has often  appealed to our people to make the Sabbath a day of worship, devotion, and communion with God, and to sacredly guard it from secular business.” (Source–ellenwhite.org)

But some may say, “That is talking about regular working business in the world not church business.” This is a classic example of why the Lord needed to send a “restorer of all things”. Our all-seeing King knew that this issue should be clarified and thus we should have no confusion and then without excuse as to which way is the right course here.

So with this understanding let us look at the Lord’s Elijah message for the restoring word on this issue.

“Turning back to Isaiah 58, verse 13, tells the kind of fast this is. “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.”

Therefore, the fast mentioned here is not a fasting of food, but of pleasure, labor and our own ways and thoughts, and that we must honor God and keep His Sabbath holy. The charge is, that we exact all our labor on the Sabbath day. As a people we have forgotten the true meaning of Sabbath keeping. We have come to suppose that anything which pertains more or less to religion is permissible on God’s holy day. It is said, It is the Lord’s work.

But God has never said anywhere in the Scriptures that His people are at liberty to do all manners of work (that pertain to religion) on the Sabbath day. Work which can be done on a day other than the Sabbath is not a work for the Sabbath. “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: In it thou shalt not do any work.”

        Note the way the commandment reads: “Any work.” God does not mean that we can do our work in the six days, and His on the Sabbath. He says it is a day of rest: Not physical, but spiritual rest. For instance, it would be wrong for one to sell good religious books on the Sabbath, even if he turned all the proceeds to the church.

It would be wrong for a surgeon to perform surgical operations on patients on the Sabbath day if it can be done at another time. It would be wrong for a nurse to give treatments to patients on the Sabbath day if it was not absolutely necessary. Read Volume 7, page 106.

It would be wrong for a church council to meet on the Sabbath and discuss church business, or make plans of any kind. It would be wrong for a Sabbath keeper to load himself with evangelical announcements for a series of meetings, and distribute them from house to house on the Sabbath day. All this manner of work could be done on a day other than the Sabbath.

When we do this kind of work on the Sabbath, we do it to save ourselves an hour or so of time for the next day, thus we rob God of His time and add it to our secular pleasure. If it is wrong for one to go and sell good religious books on the Sabbath, though he turns all the proceeds to the Church, it would be doubly wrong to sell that same book in the house of God on the Sabbath day, regardless of what is done with the income.

If all of this is true, then it would be wrong to go out with Harvest Ingathering papers and receive contributions for missions on the Sabbath. It is time for God to call our attention to these things. (SRod, vol. 1, p.148-149)

Let our hearts rejoice as we see that the Lord makes this issue very clear as to leave no excuse. A Sabbath business meeting is a human convenience cloaked in the name of religion! Let us not fall for this Satan trap. It’s not real hard to figure out by human standards. We have all the members there during Sabbath, why not have the meeting then and save our precious leisure time later? Our conveniences over the Lord’s word–a recipe for disaster!

We can arrange a weekly evening gathering and do all the business we want, and thus please the Lord and more blessings shall flow.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and blessed are the breasts that nursed You.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:27-28)

Here is an example of a church posting that would glorify God-

Chruch council meeting

This could be posted in our Sabbath bulletins to remind our members that we can make time to do business that does not pollute our King’s holy day.

“Arise against the abominations and now take your stand with this revival and reformation (“Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 126), called forth by the True Witness to the Laodiceans (“Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pp. 252, 253). Read “Testimonies,” Vol. 3, pp. 266, 267; Ezekiel 9.” (Jezreel Letter, no. 7, p.9) 

We as present truth believers know that we must “sigh and cry” for all the abominations that be done in the church (Testimonies vol. 3, p.267), in order to get the seal of God in our forehead. And as this sin of working on His Sabbath has been seen as wrong in God’s word, let us turn from this practice and do the right thing here.

The word says–

“..we should pray that we judge not others; that we as a church deal only with open sins. (Timely Greetings, vol. 2, no.38, p.2)

This business gathering is open and thus we must deal with it openly. Lest we be looked at from God’s view as contributors to breaking His holy Sabbath.

We should never forget that Inspiration says that ONLY those who sigh and cry for the all the abominations done in the church (Testimonies, vol. 3, p.267 and Testimonies, vol. p.212) will receive the seal of God. Should we gamble our eternal life by presumptuously assuming that Sabbath business meetings are not an abomination? That’s an eternal gamble we cannot afford to take!

Can we image the Lord saying , “My Son/Daughter shame on you for fearing me and avoiding Sabbath council meetings.” Of course not. Rather we can walk in full faith that we stand on solid God breathed words when we take His word literally and obediently.

In closing we are in the time of the end and the Lord’s angel with the writers inkhorn is doing the all important marking of those who fear the Lord. If we error in anything let us error in fearful obedience rather than careless presumptuousness.

“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.” (Psalms 128:1)

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6 Responses to “Sabbath Business Meetings?”

  1. wilfred Says:

    Kind of a wake up call to all of us!

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Yes indeed brother Wilfred. One of many abominations we MUST set straight if we are to see the Kingdom.

  3. rene Says:

    Amen, no business on the Sabbath.

  4. Carmen Wright Says:

    Wonderful word of life and duty.

    May God help us to be obedient.

  5. Fazil ramolt Says:

    Are you from the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

  6. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Yes I am.

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