Is it proper for Adventists to engage in Global Youth Day on Sabbath?

Q: If the Sabbath is for worshipping God, then why are we doing Global Youth Day on Saturday? Jesus went to the synagogue every Sabbath, and He didn’t do anything except worship on that day. Doing youth day is good, but is it right? Is it supported by the Bible? Of course Christ healed someone on the Sabbath day (Mark 3:1), but it’s not that He went looking for someone to heal. If we do the youth day on Sabbath, then it’s just like working. I’m not against youth day; I’m just confused. — Veve

A: Veve, I appreciate your conscientiousness and desire to keep the Sabbath holy. As we know from the Bible, the seventh day is the only day that God blessed and made holy (Gen. 2:2, 3). It’s also the only day that God asks us to remember to keep holy (Ex. 20:8-11).

Let’s also remember that Jesus said that “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day” (Matt. 12:12). It’s true that it was Jesus’ custom to attend synagogue on the Sabbath. However, He did much more — especially healing — on the Sabbath. Besides healing the man with the withered hand in the synagogue (Mark 3:1-5), Jesus healed many others, often on the Sabbath (see Luke 13:10-13; 14:1-6; John 5:1-9; 9:1-14). He wanted people to realize that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), and that the Sabbath should be a delight (Isa. 58:13-14).

It is in this spirit that the Global Youth Day was organized by the Youth Department of the General Conference. The idea is to bless others on this special day that God has blessed. The Youth Department doesn’t prescribe exactly how to help/bless others in your area, because needs around the world vary and you know how best to address those needs in your local area.

Of course, something health-related, such as a health fair with blood pressure screening and healthy living information, is always needed and welcomed around the world. Singing and visiting homes for the elderly and in hospitals is also something greatly appreciated everywhere.

Passing out literature and a flower is a great activity as you witness to people and make them happier in Christ. Making friends with children in an orphanage and reading to them is a great way to share your faith with those in need. There are so many activities that are good to do on the Sabbath.

Some youth groups make this an all-day event and start out with a special worship service in the early morning, while others attend Sabbath school and church in the morning, and then do their outreach activities in the afternoon. Others make it a weekend event, choosing to do some activities on Sabbath, and others on Sunday.

Whatever you do on the Sabbath, it should be consistent with appropriate Sabbath observance. Construction, renovation and clean up projects should be done on a day other than Sabbath, but there are plenty of wonderful, practical Christianity activities that can be done on Sabbath and will be a great blessing as you practice what you preach and “Be the Sermon.”

I encourage you to talk with your local church pastor and youth leader about this event and together plan a way to reach out to others during the International Youth Day that will be biblically based and appropriate to the needs of your area.

See related question: How can you justify cleaning streets on Sabbath for Global Youth Day?

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