Holding forth the word of life;
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,
that I have not run in vain,
neither laboured in vain.
Philippians 2:16

Fight the good fight of faith,
lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called,
and hast professed a good profession
before many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

One of the first signs of my having become a citizen of Christ’s great kingdom was that I noted a dramatic change in my attitude towards his faithful sandwich-board men. My sniggered embarrassment upon sharing the pavement with one had been substituted by a sudden admiration for him, even approaching with a whispered word of encouragement, and if on rare occasions feeling courageous a shaking of his hand in front of the milling crowds. I had, at last, received the message: ‘I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?’


Of course, I have to say to all such brethren, before leaving home with your boards or your banners, PLEASE not only examine your soul before God, but your appearance before the mirror. You represent the God of glory, not the local Supermarket. Are you – not expensively – but neatly dressed, and has your chin felt the sharp edge of a razor? And when on the job, PLEASE refrain from looking mournful, as if attending your Lord’s funeral: NOT the perpetual grin of ‘victory’ (PLEASE!), but at least a countenance less like the proverbial undertaker’s. After all, you’re walking to Zion, not Purgatory! Forgive my impertinent outburst, but as a retired mocker and now your admirer, perhaps I might be excused a passing comment or two.


And what about those boards slung over your shoulders front and back, or the two sides of the banner you hold aloft? How careful you have to be in the choice of the texts they display before the irreverent world. Beware of those unrelated to the written Word of God, that are apt, but merely the opinions of men. The unbelieving passer-by also has opinions to match your own, and are just as flimsy. Your authority, the raison d’etre for parading on the pavement, lies in what GOD SAYS and not what YOU THINK.

So, in what is a very obvious remark, employ scriptural texts — those the unbeliever can understand. I was once given a text to stick on the back window of my car, which I refused to use. In bold letters it said, ‘BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD’, and indeed my heart thrilled to be reminded of him, but unless the driver of the car following me had been a Christian, what possible use could that isolated text be to someone unfamiliar with Bible teaching?


Then again, do publicly displayed texts have to be solely condemnatory? Is there no space for Christian hope? Must gloom follow doom, without alleviation? How often following Christ, being redeemed by his precious atoning sacrifice AND RAISED AGAIN TO A NEW LIFE IN HIM, is made to appear a negative and miserable affair, with a doleful expression beneath the banner presenting it. I remember a youth testifying of a transformed life in the Lord, and beginning, ‘Before I became a Christian, I used to enjoy myself…! We all knew what this babe in Christ meant, but was he a trainee undertaker, and did his family and friends think so too?

The words of Jesus spring to mind: ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my JOY might remain in you, and that YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL’. (John 15:11) Remember, it was AFTER the resurrection that he had cause to comment about the sadness of two of his disciples. (Luke 24: 17) So, cheer up!


But the banner carrying and sandwich-board warriors have much to teach the rest of us. They are much more than in the frontline of the battle; rather, they are behind enemy lines, and suffer the consequences of being on the devil’s territory. Verbal abuse, mockery, jibes, and often, even criticism from their brethren and sisters in Christ: one cannot hold on to personal pride and a Scripture text board or banner at the same time.

Not for them hiding behind church doors, or the walls of the pulpit, and believing they are ‘standing for the truth’; not for them the ‘pussyfooting’ so much associated with men of God today, the fear of being controversial, or upsetting the ungodly. Out in all weathers too, not fearing the slightest drizzle, or the smallest snowflake!

There is something else about them too. More than any other Christian these days, it seems, they remind us all of the Second Advent, the Lord’s promise to return in glory. Think about it. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME FROM YOUR CHURCH PULPIT RESOUNDED THE GLORIOUS NEWS THAT CHRIST IS COMING BACK? Perhaps, a swift reference, but an entire sermon: the need for REVIVAL, yes, but the Lord’s RETURN? You will probably have waited a very long time. Ask your pastor. Three cheers for the sandwich-board and banner carriers, and praise God for them!

Dr. Peter Trumper