MATTHEW 7: HOT NEW MARKETING
If I think about an “ultimate marketing machine”, I think about The Seven Ps of Marketing: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. So I find it incredible that Jesus only gave 3 years to market the greatest gift ever to be offered to humankind, and that what He was peddling door-to-door, wasn’t at all wanted – not then (at least not by the end of His lifetime) and seemingly not now. But what was the strategy plan for this Global Gift?
PRODUCT: Don’t judge others but look in the mirror – sort yourself out first. [v1-5]
Judging is a pretty hard thing to avoid. It’s amazing how I can tell my husband what he’s thinking, or what he’s saying behind his words, when these things were the last thing in his mind! If I can be SO wrong about someone that I’ve lived with – and apparently loved more than anyone else in the whole world – what chance have I got with the lady across the road, or that person in the next car, or that sibling whom I’ve not lived with for 3 decades, though I still think that I know the basic premise behind their actions. If I don’t like it when people misinterpret or misrepresent me, why am I doing it so regularly with others?
While marketing Eternal LIFE, Jesus began with offering a set of balancing scales. But unlike religion – that places the weights of a deity on the one side, and the plan becomes an impossible lifelong strategy whereby we (a mere human) are expected to balance out the other side in our attitudes, thinking, speech and actions – Jesus’ scales for us are different. He wants us to sit on the one side, while we put our friends, neighbours, family, and, yes, even our enemies, on the other side. Knowing our limitations, He simply asks us to have even scales. Human weighted against another human. And, what we expect for ourselves, we should give as much to others.
With that said, there’s small print and a warning with the use of any product. And so, although the promise and ultimate outcome will be that “the measure you use it will be measured to you…”[a], our Maker is realistic. He knows, ahead of time, that human interactions will always come at a cost. Sometimes, we have to protect ourselves. Sometimes there’s a need for healthy boundaries. [v6] But whatever’s going on, on that side of the scale (which is largely outside our control), followers of the Creator God have to continue to use the scales given to us, in the way they were intended – if not only to maintain a clear conscience, pleasing our “Manufacturer”.
PRICE: Whatever I need, I need to get it from the Original Creator every time. Why? Because He applies 100% quality control at the only appropriate price. [v7-11]
Unlike religion, Faith in the Creator God is about a relationship. The Creator God sees Himself as our Father and Provider.[b] As the world’s only 100% Good and Perfect Father and 100% Good and Perfect Provider, He simply asks us to ask. The price has been paid in full, the contract completed, the Law has been fulfilled.[c] When we acknowledge Him for who He really is, He acknowledges us.[d] But here’s the thing (and this is the totally weird part that not only goes against logic, but it flies in the face of what we normally do when negotiating a quote), we can’t believe the price He set and so we’ve spent the next 2,000 years trying to add to it!!
PROMOTION: From the beginning, the marketing strategy has always been about simple replication. [v12]
The blueprint design for humanity has been embedded in the science of cloning.[e] The Creator’s strategic plan from the beginning has always been about replication. We were made in the “likeness” of our Maker and now our Maker is expecting one thing from us – to be like Him. So, in a simple way, to promote “likeness” – to promote the strategy of being like our 100% good Father – I must “do to others what I’d like them to do to me. [v12]
Love has always been the basis for the Eternal Life that Jesus was promoting. It’s the first and greatest commandment to love the Creator in the same way that He’s shown His love to us, and the second is to love other as ourselves.[f] If we want to appreciate what our Maker is providing, and to be appreciated ourselves (loved, treated with dignity and cared for), then we need to treat those made in the image of our Maker equally in this same way.
PLACE: Pick the right path at every turn, even though it’s the smallest, narrowest and isn’t the easiest choice. [v13-14]
If the popular book title is at all true – that men are from Mars and women are from Venus – then the Creator God is truly out of this world, in comparison to what we have become since He first made us to be like Him. Unlike humans, who generally think that bigger is better, and lean towards mass marketing the mass produced; mega shopping centers and highways to success, HIStory has shown that the Creator will often choose the boutique approach.
To be like Him – who is 100% right in all His ways and 100% perfect in all that He produces[g] – the right way, leading to the right place to find what’s right, is like sifting through shelves of books to find the only first edition. Or combing racks of clothing to find that one unique outfit, and only thing suitable for that occasion. We know how to look in the right places for everyday things, but we fail to spot the right place to find the only thing that truly matters.
PACKAGING: Watch out for those who claim to be right but twist the right way. You’ll spot them easily from their outward signs. [v15-20]
With limited funds, our family has come to realize that it’s false economy to buy cheap. No matter how good the price and packaging, it’s better in the long run, to pay more for quality and endurance. In our throw-away society, the world seems full of cheap imitations. It’s actually not too difficult to spot them, if you care to take the time.
Interestingly, most people seem happy to read up on the manufacturer’s spec for the latest computer that they want to buy, but they’re not willing to read up, and seriously compare, the ingredients listed on religion’s packaging. What seems healthy at first glance, can be a fast-food pic’n’mix smorgasbord of every type of faith imaginable. But the packaging is hugely important for scrutinizing what’s inside. We need to actively read what’s written in our Maker’s Handbook, if we want to benefit from everything that He’s offering.
PEOPLE: Just because people think they’re doing things in God’s Name – and seeing some pretty amazing results – doesn’t mean that they’re an “approved” representative, as one of His people. [v21-23]
I find it interesting that I’ll spend considerable time sourcing an appropriate professional, when it comes to repairing goods that we’ve bought. We’ve all heard stories of ‘cowboys’ and rogue builders, who do shoddy work on house repairs. I send Mark to the mechanic to book in our cars for repairs, because I don’t want to be lied to, when it come to what mechanical repair work is really necessary. I have a theory that they’re likely not to try trickery when they’re dealing with a man!
Yet somehow, we’re incredibly gullible when it comes to Faith representatives. In fact, it seems that the more flamboyant, or mystical, the better. The simple, down-to-earth and logical message given to humanity by the Creator God, without hot new marketing techniques, seems harder to believe! Jesus started MMS – a Mobilized Messaging Service – for marketing Father God’s Global Gift of Eternal LIFE. But if the incredible isn’t measured up again the credible – a recognized outlet using an authorized Handbook – it won’t be an authentic Maker’s representative, and shouldn’t be used. [v28]
POSITION: A wise man chooses to build his life on bedrock instead of sinking sand. [v24-26]
While modern marketing techniques place huge emphasis on where to advertise, or where to place a product in a shop, our Maker gave us clear instructions for founding our lives on something solid and lasting. The best place always gets the best results. So, when life seems fluid and slipping through our fingers, evolving in ways that are outside our control, or sinking away from under our feet, it’s likely that we’ve not adhering to our Maker’s Handbook.
What our Creator is offering is simple, and freely available to everyone who has been created in His own image to be like Him.[h] And, although He employed The Seven Ps of Marketing, millenniums before anyone else, He’s not trying to sell us something. What He wants to freely give us can’t be sold, because it’s already been bought and paid for in full. We leave today’s chapter with a simple choice now, and the choice to believe and receive is as simple as child’s faith[i] …
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[a] Matthew 7:2; Mark 4:24; Luke 6:38
[b] 2 Samuel 7:14; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Genesis 22:14 (referring to YHWH-Yireh); Psalm 91:4
[c] Matthew 5:17
[d] Psalm 91:14; Hosea 13:4; Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8 (Conversely Isaiah 45:5; Jeremiah 9:3&6)
[e] Genesis 1:26-27
[f] Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18 & Luke 10:25-28
[g] Deuteronomy 32:4
[h] Galatians 3:23-29 and Romans 8:38-39
[i] Matthew 18:2-4 and Luke 18:15-17