A Lesson in Money, Marketing, and Morality
by Richard Singleton
The beer is on ice, the snacks are on hand, and church pews across the nation are empty. Today is the Super Bowl. Not every sports enthusiast is an alcohol-swilling absentee, and we dont suggest that there is something inherently wrong with star-studded sporting events. Sports are often a wonderful way to train the body and focus the mind. We simply pause beside the fans well-worn pathway to try to catch a glimpse of our culture, to ponder the relationship between money, marketing, and morality.
"Follow the money." This has become the motto of the political and marketing worlds. Wisdom demands that we employ this maxim in the spiritual world; it is a principle prevailed upon by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matt. 6:21).
So, where is the money being funneled today? Have you ever heard the expression, "sex sells"? Millions of dollars have been spent for commercials during the Super Bowl. Many of these commercials will be unashamed appeals to lust (1 Jn. 2:15-17). "Hey, have a beer. After all, if you do, these young, scantily clad women might notice you." "Buy our product; it will make you wealthy." "Use this; it will bring you happiness." Beyond the commercials, athletes-some of whom are literal criminals-are being paid to be egotists, and bookies are helping thousands gamble their lives away. Thankfully, there are still some heroes out there, too.
Most marketing strategies are not so dull and unappealing as some of the "sermons" that pass for preaching in many places across this nation. Simultaneously, Satan works to water down the word of God and spice up the appeal of sin. When "good" stories and social gospel replace God's word, tragedy always follows (Matt. 15:9).
After the Super Bowl, on the heels of a ratings windfall, the CBS series, Survivor, makes an encore appearance from the Outback. Smiling with approval, the media reports that these Survivors are sexier, meaner, greedier, and ready to win at all cost. One of the new Survivors sarcastically announced, "I will do whatever it takes to win, even lie." The pulse of American morality is faint and fading. These modern boasts used to be the stuff of shame and disgust. The student caught cheating on an exam was failed, the athlete caught using drugs was banished, and the person caught lying under oath was punished! "We've come a long way baby."
The good news is that there is more than just bad news. Politically, we are making a rebound. Our new President has halted money for foreign abortion services and has voiced opposition to using aborted babies for "scientific" research. (There are about 55 million abortions performed each year across the globe.) President Bush has also publicly charged his staff with a goal of unimpeachable morality. Further, Mr. Bush says he wants to focus his energy on being a good leader rather than building a great legacy. Well said, Mr. President.
Morally, all is not lost. A recent news article noted that many in the billion dollar porn industry are running scared in the shadow of "W's" Whitehouse. It is a well-know truth that the Clinton Justice Department was weak in prosecuting porn. In fact, in the closing months of the Clinton regime, there was a scandal linking Whitehouse staffers with internet porn. And we all are all too aware of Clinton's sexual escapades. It is refreshing to see the "lights" turned on once again inside the people's house.
Spiritually, the headlines are resoundingly positive. Increasingly, people are waking up to the reality that money and marketing cannot offer what they need most: salvation (1 Tim. 6:9). Today's millionaires are tomorrow's paupers. The stars of years long past have dimmed and fallen, but those who have found Christ have found hope
In Christ, we have riches, redemption, unity, triumph, and eternal life (Eph. 1:3; 1:7; Rom. 12:5; 2 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 6:23). While we can learn a lot about current morality by "following the money," we can learn more about our future destiny by following the Master (1 Pet. 2:21). Yes, today, many will enjoy America's wide world of entertainment, and they should. But, when it comes time to make decisions about priority and morality, the true winners-the true survivors-are those who are in Christ (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
Reprinted by permission: http://winfield.cjb.net
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