Sunday Labor

 

"When we devote Sunday to missionary work, the whip will be taken out of the hands of the arbitrary zealots who would be well pleased to humiliate Seventh-day Adventists. When they see that we employ ourselves on Sunday in visiting the people and opening the Scriptures to them, they will know that it is useless for them to try to hinder our work by making Sunday laws."

Introduction

The following extract from the ninth volume of Testimonies for the Church provides helpful information on how to comply with Sunday Labor laws.

 

Sunday Labor

Sanitarium, California,

August 17, 1902.

Dear Brother,

I will try to answer your question as to what you should do in the case of Sunday laws being enforced. {9T 232.1}

The light given me by the Lord at a time when we were expecting just such a crisis as you seem to be approaching, was that when the people were moved by a power from beneath to enforce Sunday observance, Seventh-day Adventists were to show their wisdom by refraining from their ordinary work on that day, devoting it to missionary effort. {9T 232.2}

"One does not receive the mark of the beast because he shows that he realizes the wisdom of keeping the peace by refraining from work that gives offense, doing at the same time a work of the highest importance."

To defy the Sunday laws will but strengthen in their persecution the religious zealots who are seeking to enforce them. Give them no occasion to call you lawbreakers. If they are left to rein up men who fear neither God nor man, the reining up will soon lose its novelty for them, and they will see that it is not consistent nor convenient for them to be strict in regard to the observance of Sunday. Keep right on with your missionary work, with your Bibles in your hands, and the enemy will see that he has worsted his own cause. One does not receive the mark of the beast because he shows that he realizes the wisdom of keeping the peace by refraining from work that gives offense, doing at the same time a work of the highest importance. {9T 232.3}

When we devote Sunday to missionary work, the whip will be taken out of the hands of the arbitrary zealots who would be well pleased to humiliate Seventh-day Adventists. When they see that we employ ourselves on Sunday in visiting the people and opening the Scriptures to them, they will know that it is useless for them to try to hinder our work by making Sunday laws. {9T 232.4}

Sunday can be used for carrying forward various lines of work that will accomplish much for the Lord. On this day open-air meetings and cottage meetings can be held. House-to-house work can be done. Those who write can devote this day to writing their articles. Whenever it is possible, let religious services be held on Sunday. Make these meetings intensely interesting. Sing genuine revival hymns, and speak with power and assurance of the Saviour’s love. Speak on temperance and on true religious experience. You will thus learn much about how to work, and will reach many souls. {9T 233.1}

Let the teachers in our schools devote Sunday to missionary effort. I was instructed that they would thus be able to defeat the purposes of the enemy. Let the teachers take the students with them to hold meetings for those who know not the truth. Thus they will accomplish much more than they could in any other way. {9T 233.2}

...

The Sabbath is the Lord’s test, and no man, be he king, priest, or ruler, is authorized to come between God and man. Those who seek to be conscience for their fellow men, place themselves above God. Those who are under the influence of a false religion, who observe a spurious rest day, will set aside the most positive evidence in regard to the true Sabbath. They will try to compel men to obey the laws of their own creation, laws that are directly opposed to the law of God. Upon those who continue in this course, the wrath of God will fall. Unless they change, they cannot escape the penalty. {9T 234.2}

The law for the observance of the first day of the week is the production of an apostate Christendom. Sunday is a child of the papacy, exalted by the Christian world above the sacred day of God’s rest. In no case are God’s people to pay it homage. But I wish them to understand that they are not doing God’s will by braving opposition when He wishes them to avoid it. Thus they create prejudice so bitter that it is impossible for the truth to be proclaimed. Make no demonstration on Sunday in defiance of law. If this is done in one place, and you are humiliated, the same thing will be done in another place. We can use Sunday as a day on which to carry forward work that will tell on the side of Christ. We are to do our best, working with all meekness and lowliness. {9T 235.1}

...

“Behold,” Christ said, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” “Ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:16, 22. They hated Christ without a cause. Is it any marvel that they hate those who bear His sign, who do His service? They are counted as the offscouring of the earth. {9T 235.3}

“When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” It is not the will of God that your lives shall be carelessly sacrificed. “Verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” Verse 23. {9T 236.1}

The people must be given the truth, straightforward, positive truth. But this truth is to be presented in the spirit of Christ. We are to be as sheep in the midst of wolves. Those who will not, for Christ’s sake, observe the cautions He has given, who will not exercise patience and self-control, will lose precious opportunities of working for the Master. The Lord has not given His people the work of making a tirade against those who are transgressing His law. In no case are we to make a raid on the other churches. Let us remember that, as a people entrusted with sacred truth, we have been neglectful and positively unfaithful. The work has been confined to a few centers until the people in them have become gospel-hardened. It is difficult to make an impression on those who have heard so much truth, and yet have rejected it.... {9T 236.2}

All this is against us now. Had we put forth earnest efforts to reach those who, if converted, would give a true representation of what present truth would do for human beings, how much further advanced our work would now be. It is not right that a few places should have all the advantages while other places are neglected. {9T 236.3}

 

*****

At our Avondale school, near Cooranbong, Australia, the Sunday labor question came up for decision. It seemed as if the lines were soon to be drawn so tightly about us that we should not be able to work during Sunday. Our school was situated in the heart of the woods, far from any village or railway station. No one was living near enough to us to be disturbed in any way by anything we might do. Nevertheless, we were watched. The officers were urged to come around to inspect our premises, and they did come. They could have seen many things if they had desired to prosecute us, but they did not appear to notice those who were at work. They had so much confidence in us as a people, and so great respect for us on account of the work we had done in that community, that they believed they could trust us anywhere. {9T 236.4}

Many recognized the fact that the whole community had been transformed since we went there. A woman who was not a Sabbathkeeper said to me: “You would not believe me if I should inform you fully in regard to the transformation that has taken place in this community as the result of your moving here, establishing a school, and holding these little meetings.” {9T 237.1}

So when our brethren were threatened with persecution and thrown into perplexity in regard to what they should do, the same advice was given as was given in answer to the question concerning games. I said: “Employ Sunday in doing missionary work for God. Teachers, go with your students. Take them into the bush [this is what we called the sparsely settled districts in the woods, where houses are often a mile or two apart], and visit the people in their homes. Let them know that you are interested in their soul’s salvation.” They did so and, as the result, were greatly benefited themselves and were able to help others as well. The blessing of God rested upon them as they diligently searched the Scriptures in order to learn how to present the truths of the word in such a way that these truths would be received with favor. {9T 237.2}

August 20, 1903.

*****

At one time those in charge of our school at Avondale inquired of me, saying: “What shall we do? The officers of the law have been commissioned to arrest those working on Sunday.” I replied: “It will be very easy to avoid that difficulty. Give Sunday to the Lord as a day for doing missionary work. Take the students out to hold meetings in different places, and to do medical missionary work. They will find the people at home and will have a splendid opportunity to present the truth. This way of spending Sunday is always acceptable to the Lord.” {9T 238.1}

*****

We are to do all we can to remove the prejudice that exists in the minds of many against our work and against the Bible Sabbath. {9T 238.2}

*****

Teach the people to conform in all things to the laws of their state when they can do so without conflicting with the law of God. {9T 238.3}

*****

Sometimes the hearts of persecutors are susceptible of divine impressions as was the heart of the apostle Paul before his conversion. {9T 238.4}

 

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