Friday, August 3, 2007

Discipleship and Coca-Cola

This is my second to the last post on things found at WalMart. I will be starting a new thread in 2 weeks.

We have all heard the phrase “people don’t care how much you know until they see how much you care.” In building relationships with people one of the best and sure fire ways is to serve them. People are attracted with people who serve them.

All too often Christians start off by wanting to convert people to their beliefs and religious practices rather than finding ways to serve them. Serving people is still one of the fastest and best ways to establish relationships.

One story that brings home this point is about Coca-Cola and its long running relationship with its customers all over the world.

In the 1940’s Coke was just an Atlanta based American company with a few international beachheads. When World War II broke out its president Robert Woodruff commissioned its executives to devise a plan to provide the American soldier with a bottle of Coke right on the battlefield. His desire was the help the soldier overcome loneliness and being homesick. They made sure that Coke was delivered right down to the foxholes.

Mr. Woodruff was so committed to the plan that he had Coke executives traveling to the war theatres to supervise the establishment of portable bottling plants. By the time the war ended Coke had set-up bottling facilities in 63 countries and territories.

Grateful the American soldiers became the premier supporters and word of mouth advertisers of Coke in these territories. It wasn’t long before the word spread and Coke became popular in these countries. Overnight Coke found itself with people wanting to represent them in these nations with factories ready to repoduce the product.

Their simple act of serving the American soldier turned out to be one of their best advertising and distribution strategies.

This incident can help us learn something about discipleship from Coke. Don’t try to convert people, serve the ones who believe in you. This will translate in them a desire to serve others the way you served them.

When we serve people they see the power of this act and they in turn serve others. The more selfless our service is the more real and effective they become.

The greatest among you will be your servant. Matthew 23:11

See also: Prayer and Exercise

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