Geico got it wrong this time...
I turned on the radio yesterday morning to catch the weather. Intermingled with the sports news and traffic updates, they ran a commercial for Geico Insurance. Now normally, I like Geico commercials, particularly the TV ads with the little gecko. He's cute. And sometimes he's funny. But this time, I was not amused. Maybe it had to do with what I'd been reading in Luke that morning. Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray, and after giving them what we know of as the Lord's Prayer, he told them a story about a man who went to a neighbor in the middle of the night to ask for bread because a traveler/friend has come to see him and he has nothing to offer his guest. Jesus said the man would refuse his neighbor because he and his children were already tucked in bed, but due to the man's persistence or boldness, he would rise and give him what he asked for.
This was a picture of prayer, and I often thought that what was meant by this just had to do with persevering in prayer. If we really wanted God to do something, to not give up asking. Most of the time though, what we want tends to be for ourselves - like a gimme list at Christmas. We pray most about what we want because that's who we know best. We know when we hurt or when we have some need, be it a job or good health or a mending a broken relationship or any number of untold things.
But as I pondered this story, I realized that the man went to his neighbor to borrow bread, not for himself but for his friend. The persistence in prayer in this instance, was for someone else, not himself. How often do I persist in prayer for others? Prayers for their good health, or secure finances, or a broken relationship with Jesus? Not nearly enough.
So when I heard the ad on the radio as I made breakfast, it made me pause. They said, "Think about that special someone in you life, good. Now push them aside and focus on you. Isn't it time you treated yourself to what could be hundreds of dollars in ..." Don't think about your loved one, think about you? What a selfish message.
Maybe if they'd said, do this for you so you can stay safe for your loved one, I would agree. But that wasn't their message.
We already live in a self-serving, me-first world. Yes, there is much good and people can be helpful and kind. We need to encourage such behavior. The last thing we need are more ads promoting selfishness.