An Improvement … or Not?

P&G podsHave you noticed the new trend in cleansers? Laundry and dish detergents are new and improved. Again. Now they’ve morphed from powders to liquids to gels to…pods.

No more measuring and spilling. No more worrying if we’re using too much or too little. No more straining our backs hefting gallons of detergent. Good for the consumer.

But not so good for the corporations. They’re losing money – lots of it – on the sale of convenient, individually-wrapped pods. And they’re not afraid to say so. 

It seems that manufacturers have been raking in profits from consumers’ overuse of their products. For years, we’ve been pouring too much detergent into our dishwashers and washing machines. Even in recent years, as cleansers have become more concentrated, we’re still using the same amount, despite the suggested measure listed on the package.

Then P&G introduced a laundry detergent sold in pods and the sale of laundry detergent products fell more than 2% in one year. Other companies followed the leader to remain competitive, but they’re not happy. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a competitor of P&G accused them of “killing the laundry detergent category.”

Finally, a dose – pun intended – of honesty. 

Instead of increasing revenue for both manufacturers and retailers, the innovative products are shrinking revenue and shrinking profits. Consumers are no longer using more product than is actually needed, therefore they’re buying less.

Hmmm… How many times do Christians and churches chase the next spiritual fad, thinking we’ll reap huge benefits? Too often, we imitate the world’s way of doing things, whether it’s a “new” interpretation of the Bible or a “relevant” style of worship, only to be disappointed or worse yet, have it backfire on us. 

We forget our identity:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.           (I Peter 2:9)

The King James Bible translates “God’s special possession” as “a peculiar people.” We belong to our heavenly Father and we are to shine His light in a dark world. To do that, we must be different from the world, not emulate it. Whether in our private prayer times or corporate meetings, perhaps we should strive for less innovation and more focus on the One who calls us His own.

Now that’s an improvement that will reap eternal benefit.