Driving through Chicago has all sorts of benefits. The construction. The traffic jams. The aggressive drivers. And, the fantastic billboards.
There are two types of billboards that predominate. In my unofficial tally, the number two slot is held by sellers of various fireworks. The fireworks billboard usually includes some sort of patriotic cartoon figure who has set off a few too many explosives in his day.
The number one slot, in terms of number of Chicago-land billboards, include advertisements about men’s hair treatments. There is great novelty in word play used with these billboards coupled with the visual presentation of iconic sports personalities—whom I quite honestly have no clue about. There is also a prevalent overtone of the visual message along with the caption—you need to do something to regain what you once had. There it is, aging men, you need to get your hair back.
This message is great for hair treatments—but not so great when it comes to restored for a purpose. We are not looking to be restored as a Conference of churches so we can simply be a rerun of what we looked like three decades ago. God is calling us to faithful living in the present, not calling us to look exactly like we did in the past. We are restored for a purpose—joining God in His Kingdom work in relevant ways today.
As we collectively celebrate 350 years as Seventh Day Baptists there are wonderful stories of restoration to cherish and remember as key milestones. There are powerful stories of purpose-filled living as individuals, churches, and as a Conference over those 350 years. Those are stories to inspire us as we live with purpose today—but not to restore us as a rerun.