Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt 5:16 (NKJV)
“The real thing.” “It brings good things to life.” “When you care enough to send the very best.” “The choice of a new generation.” “Built tough.” “Don’t leave home without it.” “It’s everywhere you want to be.” “Just do it.” “Be All that You Can Be.” “The savings place.” “Membership has it’s privileges.”
How many of these ad slogans have you heard? Can you name the products associated with these ad campaigns? What image comes to mind when you hear these slogans? And does the product advertised live up to its ad campaign? Would you recommend these products to someone else?
How did you do with naming the products? Did you get them all? If not here is the answers to the slogans in order. Coke, GE, Hallmark, Pepsi, Ford, Master Card, VISA, NIKE, the Army and finally your local church. Oh you thought your savings place was Walmart and American Express‘ membership has privileges? Okay I admit “The Savings Place” is a trademark of Walmart, and American Express did coin the phrase “Membership has it’s privileges but in a way all these terms could be applied to the brand “Christian.”
Walmart has become known as the savings place. In fact I can pretty much guarantee that more people will enter into a local Walmart each week then will enter a local church building. We, as a culture, spend more time, effort, and resources in the pursuit of happiness and material things, then we do in the pursuit of spiritual enrichment and fulfillment. I am sure more people can identify the products being advertised above with little or no problem but when confronted with listing the 10 commandments, or reciting the beatitudes they will stumble. Perhaps one of the reasons for this lack of interest in the real SAVINGS PLACE, is the tarnished name brand.
Just pause for a moment and reflect with me as I take out my DISCOVER card and take you on a journey of enlightenment. Imagine the next time you grab an ice cold Coca Cola and pop open the aluminum can, bring it up to your mouth for a refreshing taste of it’s cooling refreshment but instead your taste buds are overwhelmed by the taste of soggy cardboard. How excited would you be for another refreshing taste of Coca Cola?
Take as another example the experience of walking into your nearest appliance store and look at all the refrigerators on display. You find the one you have been looking for, a nice silver toned GE fridge with water in the door and an automatic ice dispenser. You pay for it and have it delivered the next day only to find out that when it is plugged in, instead of keeping your food cold it did not work and all your food spoiled. Not a very good experience is it?
Or how about we head on over to the local “Savings Place” and do our regular weekly shopping. We load our shopping carts up with one bargain priced item after another and proceed to the check out lanes. You arrive at the check out lanes to find only one lane open and there are 25 people in front of you. You wait patiently for the line to move and finally it is your turn to check-out. Well just at that moment the head cashier comes over and closes the lane down and says she will be right with you. She presses a few buttons on the register and replaces the cash drawer and then says to the checker it is okay to check you out. Finally you sigh in relief. You place your items on the checkout lane and proceed to watch the checker ring up one item after the other. But instead of ringing the SUPER LOW PRICES you found on the shelf, everything seems to be priced much higher than you had thought. Finally you are presented with the total and you are shocked to find your grand total to be over $1000.00. You probably would say to the clerk… ‘thanks but no thanks’ and leave the “SAVINGS PLACE” to find yet another place to save.
I gather by now you are getting the idea where I am going with this article. What does one do when the advertised product does not live up to it’s advertising slogan? What do you do when you find out that the “Savings Place” is actually charging more for their products then the “high priced” chain store is? How do you feel when you bring home what you believe to be a quality product only to find out it does not do what it is supposed to do? Have you ever experienced any of these situations? I am sure you have at one time or another in your lifetime.
Nationally known products spend a great deal of money on their advertising campaigns to make their products a household name. They want you to be thinking of their product when you go out shopping. That is why they have created many clever advertising campaigns down through the years. However, if they did not put out a quality product in support of those advertising claims, no one would continually buy their products, no matter how much it was advertised.
In a lot of ways, Christians are supposed to be like those advertising agencies. They are called to market the brand “Christianity” to the entire world. They are supposed to be the living, breathing, walking, talking advertisement for the name of “Christian.” What does the world see when they tune into your ad campaign? What attributes of the brand “Christian” do they see? Do they see, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, self -discipline, hope, and faith? Or do they see, strife, envy, backbiting, gossip, and such like? Does your advertisement entice anyone to want to buy your product? What image comes to mind when you hear the brand name “Christian?” And does the product advertised live up to its ad campaign? Would you recommend “Christianity” to someone else? If not why not?
The “Christian” brand has been much maligned by the purveyors of that brand. It is a shame that many have TAKEN THE NAME OF THE LORD (CHRISTIAN) IN VAIN. They really had no intentions of living up to that BRAND NAME but rather decided to market it to a new generation by changing it’s ingredients, and changing its business plan. Therefore the brand “Christian” has been watered down and twisted out of shape. Now is the time for those who wear the label “Christian” and take the name-brand seriously to stand up for it, defend it, and live it in a way that brings glory to the manufacturer of that brand, JESUS himself. It is time that those who wear the name of “Christian” live up to the ’brand’s requirements. The gospel of Christ does not have to be made-over. It does not have to be modernized, it just has to be lived rightly.
Jesus is still the same today as He was in the beginning. God is still in the business of saving souls. ” The church should be known as “the” savings place. God actually did care enough to send His very best. And the Holy Spirit, not GE is what brings good things to your life.” Jesus is “the real thing” and He is the choice of “the renewed generation (2 Cor. 5:17). The brand “Christian” is rock solid and built tough because it is founded upon a rock (Mt 16:18). And you do not want to leave home without Jesus. Membership in God’s kingdom does have it’s privileges and you really should “just do it”.
To those who may have had a bad experience with “Christianity”, I encourage you to take another look. Do not look to those who simply wear the brand, but seek out those who actually believe in the brand itself, Jesus. If you seek the Creator of the brand rather than those who simply wear a mock up of the brand, you may just find that He is all that He says He is, and that Jesus is true to His brand. Be all that you can be by joining up in God’s army and wear the brand “Christian” with honor and integrity so that others will want to join up with you. Semper Fi, remain faithful to the brand.
But those who are waiting for the Lord will have new strength; they will get wings like eagles: running, they will not be tired, and walking, they will have no weariness. Isaiah 40:31 (BBE)
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