THE CHALLENGE OF ROADSIDE SIGNS!

Driving down the highway can, at times, provide thought-provoking images.   Going along the interstate, we passed a one‐story building, concrete block, with doors and a few windows. It apparently was the “backside” of the building that was along the interstate because there was no identification of the business or type of activity that went on in the building other than two signs, one on each side of one window.

The sign on the left of the window read “JESUS LOVES YOU” and the sign on the right read “WE BUY GUNS”. At first it tickled me and I laughed out loud  … then I began thinking about the signs and what they were saying.

We live in the so‐called “Bible Belt” of our country, and sometimes the expression of Christianity is more cultural than faithful. Of course the use of the phrase “Jesus Loves You” could well be an attempt to witness to those driving down the highway and to perhaps cause the observer to think about his/her response to Jesus’ love.

Burma Shave sign of yesteryear
Burma Shave sign of yesteryear

After all, God is sovereign and He can use even the static, silent sign along the highway for His purposes. Remember the Burma Shave signs along the highway  and their jingles and thoughts spread across a mile or more?  (I found this picture of the Burma Shave sign on eBay, June 15, 2015)  Certainly, if advertisers could use the power of roadway signs, the Sovereign God certainly could also!

But, there are many other possible reasons that the signs were in such place. Was the business in the building using the camouflage of Christianity to bring in customers for their firearm business? Or, conversely, was the use of Jesus’ name in connection with the purchase of guns a laudable attempt to rid firearms from the community and thereby secure peace?   Or were two businesses sharing the same building with the single entrance at the back along the interstate?

While we cannot, and must not, judge the motive of the owner of those signs, we can use them to consider our own behavior. How do WE use the name of Jesus?

The free, almost flippant and mindless, use of Jesus’ name in conversation in our society has trivialized it so that it seldom actually refers to the God/Man who is the Son of the Sovereign Living God. When it is said in our modern world, it is almost never in homage to the name of the King of Kings.

In contrast, consider how the Scripture refers to Jesus’ name.   The Apostle John says:

“But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31 (ESV)

Paul, when writing to the Philippians said:

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)

Clearly, the Biblical writers did not think Jesus’ name was something to be treated casually or in angry outbursts or cursing.

It is the name at which every knee will ultimately bow.  Indeed, Jesus is the Name of our Savior! As one who claims His name as our own, as a Christian, we should be cut to the core when others misuse His name. This is the Person who died for us, who took our place on the cross, who redeemed us from our own sin. This is the Person who voluntarily came from Heaven to live in this sinful world and bear the hatred of those He had created, all for the sole purpose of saving His people from their sins.

Perhaps the signs we saw along the highway:

  • Are a reminder that we should be careful when we use Jesus’ name.
  • Are a reminder that we should use His Name in such a way that our speech would bring honor and glory to Him.
  • Are a reminder that we should use the Name of our Lord in a manner that shows our love for our Savior.
  • Are a reminder that we should use His Name in a way that identifies us as Christians to those who who hear our conversation.

If someone were to follow me down life’s highway, would my conversation and life signs point them to Jesus?

May it be so, my Lord!

Let me know if you agree, like or want to comment. Thanks. .

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