By Lewis Willis
Art Linkletter, noted author, lecturer and television personality, gained much of his fame telling the funny things that kids said and did. His name became a household word. Most people readily identified the source of many of those funny things kids said and did. They came from parents! For some reason the silliness of the parents was funny when coming from a child. The kids haven’t been talking about it on television yet, but their parents have recently done something silly and it would be funny if it did not reflect a deteriorated sense of values in our country.
A few years ago the Coca-Cola Company changed their soft drink formula and started marketing the “new Coke.” The sweeter formula, their research showed, was just the thing the American people wanted. However, the change created national indignation. Across the country protest groups formed in an effort to change the company’s decision. Petition signing campaigns were instigated in most cities. It was urged that those that were dissatisfied call the company to protest their change. Hundreds of thousands of telephone calls were made. The ABC television program, 20/20, reported that one man spent $50,000 of his personal funds in an effort to get the company to bring back the old Coke. The 20/20 reporter did a taste test with this man and his volunteer staff, using the new Coke, Pepsi and the Old Coke that he wanted the company to bring back. He flunked the test. After spending $50,000 of his money, he and his staff preferred the new Coke and Pepsi over the old formula!
After all the furor was over, the Coca-Cola Company caved in and has now brought back the old Coke. The critics won! Behold, how great a victory hath been achieved for the people of the nation and the world!
This entire situation will be viewed by people on a scale of funny to stupid, depending upon their preference regarding the soft drink. It seems to me that there is a note of tragedy that is also involved. All around us we see the startling inroads of sin in our lives which literally threaten our national existence. Murders, rapes, thefts, abortion, homosexuality, alcoholism, drugs, fornication, child abuse and scores of other things too numerous to mention are tearing at the heart and fiber of our great nation. Yet, few people will open their mouths to say anything about these sins and it is unthinkable that we would spend any money to curb their rise in our country. But, change the formula of Coca-Cola and we lift our voices in a mighty scream of protest that is heard all the way to corporate headquarters.
Have our values sunk so low that morality is less important to us than a taste? How can we explain the silence of so many while society, the home and the church are being systematically destroyed because of the prevalence of immorality in our society? How can we explain the attitude and actions of God’s people in such matters? Have we forgotten what God expects of his people – what he expects the influence of the church to be?
Do we not recall that the people of God are a peculiar people (1 Pet. 2:9-10)? Are we not supposed to be separate from the world, touching not the unclean thing (2 Cor. 6:17-18)? And what is this responsibility to shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:15-16)? And what of all of those passages dealing with the world (Phil. 2:15-16)? And what of all of those passages dealing with that special moral conduct that typifies God’s people (1 Tim. 4:12; 5:22; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Jn. 3:13; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 Pet. 4:4, Jas. 1:27; Tit. 2:11-12)?
I was just thinkin’. the values of a people which historically have championed goodness and moral uprightness have indeed “lost their fizz.” However, a protest letter or telephone call to Coca-Cola will not change this situation. It could easily be changed with repentance in obedience to God!
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 2, p. 39
January 19, 1989