Commercials on TV have changed over the last months. Obviously, there are a lot of “feel good” ones—folks cooking together, watching movies projected on sheets in the backyard, dancing and singing their guts out on Zoom. I guess these ads are meant to comfort and encourage us, remind us that we’re in this together. I can’t remember which products they are selling, but I do feel a little better seeing folks making the best of difficult times.
Other companies are running commercials highlighting the great things they’ve done to help people. “We donated 5,000 N95 masks.” “We cooked and delivered 300 meals to first responders.” “We use to make cars, but now we are making ventilators!” When these ads started running, I wasn’t sure what I thought about them. They came across as sort of braggy—and I was taught growing up not to brag. It seemed like they were broadcasting their good works just to sell their lawn mowers or frozen dinners or cars.
But, then I went to Bible study (I didn’t really “go to Bible study”—I was sitting in my dining room studying the Bible with friends via Zoom!) We were reading from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi and he was telling them that there are all sorts of people proclaiming Christ—some from envy and rivalry and some from goodwill. Some proclaimed Christ out of love and some out of selfish ambition. In Philippians 1: 18, Paul says, “What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.”
There are so many individuals, communities, TV stations and all manner of businesses, companies and organizations doing amazing things for people in need and many are sharing their work in the media. There are tons of celebrities giving millions of dollars to help others and talking about it every night on TV. If they are being a little “braggy,” then I’m being a little “judgy.” Who am I to judge what their motives are in advertising what they’ve done? One person commented in my Bible study that she loved those commercials and felt uplifted hearing all the ways people are helping people. And, really, according to Paul, what does it matter? God’s children are being helped, fed, healed, cared for and protected. Whether out of false motives or true—in that I should be rejoicing!
Rev. Donna McKee