My former work life included being creative director for advertising agencies and public relations director for several corporate entities. My favorite part of the work was creating ad campaigns or PR promotional institutional campaigns for the companies and/or products they sold.
I was always interested in the creative billboards that were then strung along America’s highways. Billboards had to be minimal in number of words and yet make an instantaneous impact upon those whose eyes quickly scanned them.
The whole purpose was to relate the words or graphic—or both—with the company or product being advertised by the billboard.
My favorite of all time was for a funeral home. I don’t remember what funeral home or in what city. I’m sure there were several copycats because it was such a profoundly to-the-point message to swiftly passing people.
The billboard said simply: “And in conclusion…”
What better could be said for a funeral home service? That was probably the most comprehensive statement of all advertising ever given within three words.
The message was all-inclusive, wrapping up the finality of life that has spanned howsoever long. Now the funeral home’s services would put the exclamation mark on one’s life. It was both clever and effective like no other advertising message I can remember.
In America, every person who viewed it had in the back of his or her mind somewhere that he or she would one day need the service wrapped up in those three words. Most who saw the message were, I’m sure, like me, both amused and made aware of the 100 percent assuredness of one’s own mortality. Death is a sure thing, everyone understands.
Well. Not quite.
I’m not now in the business of advertising with clever lines such as “And in conclusion…” as an adman. Rather, I consider myself in the business of giving out the message worded in the same way, but profoundly different from the one inferred by the passersby who read that clever billboard back in the day. I offer another assuredness. There is the infinitely different “conclusion” that is spread across God’s great billboard—the Bible.
As a matter of fact, if I were to apply my old advertising-guy cleverness to expressing an ad for God’s message, I would probably put on that Billboard something like…well… “And in conclusion….” I couldn’t improve on that message. The difference is the product being advertised would be different—infinitely different!
The ad would be to let people know that at the conclusion of life is not death—rather, it is life eternal. The message is that to buy into this prospect of living for all eternity in a glorious place beyond imagination, Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14: 6)!.
Now, as a possessor of this guarantee of eternal life in Jesus, I can testify that included within those three words—“And in conclusion…”—Jesus in your life means you might not die physically. Death is no longer a 100 percent guarantee as a “conclusion.”
Jesus has promised to come and take those who have trusted in Him directly to homes He has been building just for them. He put it this way:
Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also. (John 14:1–3)
Jesus was foretelling a “mystery” that the Apostle Paul would later reveal. Paul wrote the following.
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:51–55)
No death! No funeral home! Now that’s some conclusion!