The Right Brand

            Today society says “your brand is everything.” Even cities hire marketing experts to give them just the “right brand,” so tourists will flock to their attractions and hotels. A well-known brand is more important then the value or even reliability of the goods and services.

Experts tell me I need to develop my brand, so I can sell my books on the internet. Much thought has left me with words like gentle, new perspective, Good News. None of these will sell books in this society that wants desperate tragedy, extreme sports, all the right answers. My reputation as a caring pastor won’t do it, nor even my record of having sold books to satisfied readers in the past. I have to have a “brand” that will catch the attention of the public.  
            In some ways, “Christianity” is a brand that represents those of us who follow Jesus. The problem with this brand is that it has lost a lot of its original meaning. Too often, people hear the word “Christian” and think bigoted, judgmental, or exclusive. Jesus commanded his disciples to love God and love one another. Christians are called to be loving, giving, caring people committed to serving as the hands and feet and heart of Christ in this world. . As the song tells us, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” That is a brand that sells well but is hard to live.
It is easy to be like the student who heaved a great sigh as he read the bonus question on his sociology exam.

What is the name of the custodian who cleans your residence building? This man has provided faithful service to you and your fellow students all year. Appreciation and respect for those around you is one way to make a difference in this world.

The student pictured an older man pushing a broom up and down the halls. “He always smiled and spoke to me, but I never stopped to talk. He didn’t even exist for me.”
             Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?

             The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
             Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”    (Matthew 10:36-37)

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