A MESSAGE TO SHARE
Jesus said: “Go and make followers of all people in the world” (Matthew 28:19). Known as “the Great Commission,” these words motivate Seventh-day Adventists.
In 1874, John Nevins Andrews left for Europe as the first official Adventist missionary. He organized a group of believers in Switzerland and helped start a publishing house.
Today the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a presence in more than 200 countries. Its commitment includes satellite television and shortwave radio blanketing the globe, a huge publishing program, thousands of schools, a large network of hospitals and clinics, and hundreds of missionaries. It also includes a worldwide humanitarian work through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Adventist Community Services (ACS).
Mission work encompasses not only sharing the story of Jesus but relieving suffering. Jesus explained that when He returns He will say to His followers: “I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house. I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. . . . Anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me” (Matthew 25:35-40).
Seventh-day Adventists generously support mission work through their tithes and offerings. As the church’s mission website states: “As long as there is even one person who doesn’t know God’s love, we will still need missionaries.”
BUILDING A WHOLE LIFE FROM THE BEGINNING
Jesus made a profound statement about children when He told His disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Luke 18:16, NRSV). While the disciples feared that the children might bother Jesus, the Savior embraced them and affirmed their value.
Wise King Solomon said, “Children are a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3, NASB). Seventh-day Adventists agree, creating a culture that encourages child development with youth clubs, summer camps and other outdoor events, international youth gatherings, weekly Sabbath school programs, mission trips, Vacation Bible Schools and a quality educational system from elementary to university level.
Solomon also offered this parenting advice: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22:6, NLT). The church supports parents through programs and publications, emphasizing the importance of early childhood training. The Seventh-day Adventist approach to child-rearing focuses on spiritual growth. But it also emphasizes healthy lifestyle choices and intellectual learning that leads to useful service in the community and in the world.
Children are a gift to be returned to God. As Ellen White, a co-founder of the church, said: “Fathers and mothers should look upon their children as younger members of the Lord’s family, committed to them to educate for heaven.” (“The Desire of Ages,” p. 515)
Hear my prayer, Yahweh. Listen to my petitions. In your faithfulness and righteousness, relieve me. Don’t enter into judgment with your servant, for in your sight no man living is righteous. For the enemy pursues my soul. He has struck my life down to the ground. He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead.
Sing to the glory of his name! Offer glory and praise! Tell God, «How awesome are your deeds! Through the greatness of your power, your enemies submit themselves to you. All the earth will worship you, and will sing to you; they will sing to your name.» Come, and see God’s deeds— awesome work on behalf of the children of men.
Sing aloud to God, our strength! Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob! Raise a song, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the New Moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in Yahweh’s law. On his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.
The idealism and self-sacrificing commitment of that wartime generation are harder to find in our society today. But as Christians, we are challenged to rediscover that commitment. Jesus is saying to his people today the same sort of thing Uncle Sam said in those posters. Jesus is saying to us, “Your church—my church—needs you!”