Does Mrs. White mention anywhere in her writings whether holding business meetings on the Sabbath is wrong—or committees meeting to discuss plans for upcoming events, church board meetings, community service meetings, Vacation Bible School meetings, etc? In Testimonies for the Church, volume 6, pages 44, 45, she says that instructions in selling Adventist literature and in Sabbath School work and meetings of the tract and missionary societies should not be conducted at camp meetings as this would distract from the spirit of holiness. Would this same principle be applied to the Sabbath? Or are people who raise these issues like those who accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath and picked at every little thing He did? After all, planning for the distribution of tracts, how to help the poor and needy, how to educate the children, etc., all pertain to Christ and His church.
You have raised an interesting question. I did not find a specific answer to it in the search I did in Mrs. White’s writings, so we may be left to looking at other situations that may more or less parallel the one we are interested in.
When I searched for the phrase “business meeting(s)” in the same paragraph as “Sabbath,” I found the following reference from Arthur L. White’s six-volume biography of Mrs. White:
The matter [of whether or not to officially organize and register the church so it could hold property securely] seesawed back and forth through the next six months, with some reference to it in most of the issues of the Review. Then came the call for a general conference at Battle Creek opening Friday, September 28, to consider safeguarding the work through some type of organization. Because of the importance of the conference, its business proceedings are reported in great detail in the issues of the Review and Herald for October 9, 16, and 23. The business meetings began September 29 immediately after the Sabbath, with Joseph Bates called to serve as chairman. Having in mind the debate that had been running in the Review, those attending the conference moved immediately into a lengthy discussion. It was clear that most looked negatively on any steps toward organization. Meetings continued through the evening after the Sabbath and Sunday morning and afternoon, ending finally with the adoption of the following: . . . (Ellen G. White: The Early Years 1827—1862, 1:421).
The meeting mentioned above had to do with organizing our movement into a legally recognized body. The church leaders waited until after the Sabbath to take the matter up. I am reminded that at General Conference sessions even today, the business meetings are conducted on non-Sabbath hours, with the Sabbath meetings given to inspirational matters.
Yet the point you make about planning for tract distribution, helping the needy, etc., being part of the spiritual ministry of the church seems to have some validity. I don’t feel qualified to say that doing such planning on the Sabbath is wrong, but I find myself asking several questions of myself in contemplating this thing: How would the Lord have me spend the sacred hours of the Sabbath in order to best fulfill His intentions for it? Am I inclined to schedule these sessions on the Sabbath so they won’t intrude into my plans for the other six days? If I didn’t schedule these meetings on the Sabbath, how would I use the time—would I receive more of the blessing that the Lord intends that the Sabbath should bring me, or would I use the time in ways that would result in less blessing?