Truth be told, if it weren’t for my husband, I would be the world’s most targeted consumer. Infomercial? Let me get my wallet. By the end of watching one, I not only believe in the product, I also believe I need it. Immediately. As in yesterday. On Saturdays, the talk radio station I enjoy weekdays becomes a virtual stream of vitamin infomercials. They target all my personal ailments—night vision issues, achy joints, and my desire for weight loss, happy intestines, a clear mind, and eternal youth. If I didn’t have to justify my purchases to my husband—or balance a bank account —or swallow all those pills—I would be dialing the 1-800 numbers and ordering my latest cure-all.
I am thankful for my husband.
Just this weekend, for example, I heard Dr. Ron Jahner tout his FlexiPrin. He began his radio testimonial with the story of his father, who had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer and given weeks to live and morphine to kill the pain. Instead of doing drugs while waiting to die, the elder Jahner fought cancer with nutrition and won, leading to the younger Jahner’s medical career—and Flexiprin. Flexiprin fights inflammation, the cause of all my aches and pains, and it works in two hours! I don’t know if it cures cancer or if its ingredients in any way contributed to the elder Jahner’s miraculous recovery those many years ago, but it sounds as if it would cure everything I suffer.
I was sold.
Until I opened the web page and saw the price: $49.95 for a month’s supply! Which made me realize that my husband also would have to be sold on the idea. Not likely going to happen. (Now I feel inflamed with frustration.)
“If I had a pill that would cure much of what the world suffers, I would make it available and affordable to as many people as I could,” I thought. I would bend over backward to get the word out. I would shout it from the mountaintops. I would talk about it wherever I went to whomever would listen. I could save the world—at least from inflammation—if it were my product to sell.
I know we Americans live in a capitalistic society—or we should be—and I’m all about supply and demand and healthy competition. But if you had THE solution, wouldn’t you want the world to know?
Sunday morning, my pastor mentioned three words that are the same in every language: hallelujah, amen, and Coca Cola.
We sang some hallelujahs and concluded the prayers with amen, but my pastor also pointed out some interesting facts about Coca Cola.
In 1923, 33-year-old Robert Winship Woodruff was elected president of the Coca Cola company, marking the beginning of his more than 60 years leading the company into its overwhelming success. While he transformed numerous aspects of the company, one of his main claims to fame was his vision for reaching every corner of the planet for Coca Cola. You might remember the company’s 1971 jingle, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” which led to the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” Well, Woodruff’s mission statement was “A Coca Cola in arm’s reach of desire“ to everyone in the world.
My pastor attested to that reach, sharing about a time when he was on a mission trip to Ghana. Too afraid to drink the water, he declared his desire for a Coke. His guide pointed to a thatched-roof mud hut, apparently a store, that contained one shelf of product—and on it was a half dozen bottles of warm Coca Cola. Hallelujah? Amen!
Coca Cola has made its product acceptable, affordable, and available—three timeless business principles. It is ubiquitous—“existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered; widespread,” according to Merriam Webster. Flexiprin (not to be confused with Flexoprin or Flexaprin, both of which I’ve found on the Internet) is not. It makes itself quite acceptable, yes, but is not affordable and is only available through one website. Shouldn’t a company with a product so wonderful at least attempt ubiquity?
My pastor’s point, of course, wasn’t to tout Coca Cola or even the company’s business practices. His point was that if a company can reach every people group in the world just selling carbonated sugar and caffeine, why can’t Christians get with God’s program and reach every tribe and every nation with the Good News of Jesus Christ?
You see, as I was bustling through my neighborhood on my way to church that morning, my elderly neighbor, who was walking his dog, flagged me down. I rolled down my window.
“Can I have a ride?” he said with a smile.
Knowing he hadn’t been feeling well lately, I was instantly concerned and said, “Absolutely! Jump on in. Where do you want me to take you?”
“I’ll go where you’re going,” Charlie said to me. I became aware that he was feeling fine and didn’t really need a ride anywhere.
“Great. I’m heading to church to sing.”
“Oh. No thanks, then. I don’t want to go where someone might tell me where I’m going,” he said, “or where they might tell me where to go.”
He was smiling. He was just kidding. But he was also being honest.
I’ve lived next door to Charlie and his wife for more than 18 years. His granddaughter once stayed with them for chunks of time and became good friends with my daughter and the rest of our family. We took her to Vacation Bible School and church. We taught her about Jesus, and she trusted Him to be her Savior and Lord when she was in sixth grade.
But Charlie? I haven’t shared that same message with him. I talk to him across our driveways all the time. I’ve collected his mail and newspaper when he’s been away. I’ve carried over plates of incredible baked goods and mailed him our family Christmas newsletter and yearly photograph. But in all of those conversations and interactions, other than maybe a mention of Jesus in the newsletter, I have never had a conversation with Charlie about Jesus Christ.
Coca Cola has poured its affordable and available product (and calories) into my life for as long as I can remember. I have stacks of the diet version in my garage as I speak. Just hearing about Flexiprin one time on the radio by a doctor I’ve never met made me aware and accepting of that product, so much so that I declared how I would market it if I were the manufacturer.
Both companies put me to shame. I do have a “product” that can change the world—and it isn’t sugar water or a vitamin. It is so much more. He is so much more. If I’m the spokesperson for Jesus Christ, I’m not doing a very good job marketing Him. Sorry, Charlie. I don’t suppose I could get you to read my blog, could I?
It’s time the Truth be told…