Truthful marketing and advertising has always been of interest to me. This week I was reading a label on a bottle of pancake syrup just thinking about the marketing approach this particular company was taking. As I read the label I noticed something very interesting. The label advertised the syrup as Butter Rich. In fact these two words were boldly written in bright blue letters across the front of the bottle. Looking at those two words I could just imagine a large stack of pancakes with melted butter and butter rich syrup running down the sides of the pancakes. Sounds good doesn’t it?
There is one problem. In small letters along the bottom of the syrup label are the following words: contains no butter. That’s right…the butter rich advertising on the label is on a product that contains no butter. I’m not sure how something can be buttery rich with no butter but that is a problem for another day.
What this syrup label made me think about are labels. Specifically, the label many of us have attached to us that says follower of Christ. People are watching us to see if we live up to our advertising. Are we really the person we say we are? As I interact with folks all over the country I am saddened to see some who wear this label but probably should add some small print to their label that says, contains no Christ.
Most of us get frustrated when we believe we have been victims of false advertising. I suspect we also do great damage to the cause of Christ when we label ourselves as followers of Christ but when others observe our behavior they see no evidence of truth in our advertising.
I’m reminded of Matthew, chapter 7 that says this:
A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
If you are wearing a follower of Christ label, make sure that you have truth in your advertising. Let others identify you as a follower of Christ by your actions, those actions that follow scripture. Let’s not disappoint others and harm the cause of Christ by any false advertising.