Monday, April 5, 2010


We stayed in a Homewood Suites recently.

The experience impressed me.

They sure know what they’re doing. Friendly, helpful service, clean facilities, a luxurious feel without the extravagant expense, attention to detail, extra amenities.

After we got to our room, I remembered that I’d left the book I was reading in the car. Since My Daniel already had his PJs on, I grabbed the car and room keys and made an extra up/down in the elevator. As I rode up after retrieving my book, I noticed the “No Smoking in the Elevator” sign with a passing glance. But then I had to look again because on the sign above the words sat the emblem of a duck.

I stared at it, wondering what in the world a duck had to do with not smoking on the elevator.

Exiting the elevator, I headed down the hall to the room, taking in the pictures hanging on the walls and the numbers by the doors looking for mine. That’s when I noticed something else. Every placard with a room number on it also had the duck emblem at the top.

Ah… discovery. The duck is Homewood Suites’ trademark symbol. Got it.

Once that registered, I started seeing the duck everywhere.

Embedded in every towel.

Printed on every paper coffee cup.

Etched on every door.

Not gaudy or obnoxious. Just… there.

That stands to reason. Branding is an important marketing tool. Now when I see the duck, I think of all the wonderful things I like about the hotel it represents.

But I still had a hard time with its appearance on the “No Smoking” post in the elevator. I thought those warning signs came pretty standard from the sign company. Why go through the trouble to customize that particular one with the emblem?

Here’s what I think.

I’m not a fan of gaudy or obnoxious Christianity. The in-your-face, Crusades-type bullying, or even the Bible bookstore treasure trove of every kind of sellable item in the entire world shaped like or bearing a cross. A piece of candy cross in not better for your soul or body than a candy disk or cane or ring or any other shape it could come in.

I don’t think we should over-symbolize our life with a Christian be-dazzler or make the mark of the cross on everything, especially if there isn’t anything backing it up. Symbols are fine, but substance is what matters.

However, the duck in the elevator got me thinking…

Every aspect of my life should have God’s mark on it in some way. My walk should reflect my talk. My motives should be sincere. Love should be evident in how I deal with problems, celebrate victories, offer a hand, pray and serve, even communicate with the grocery store clerk.

Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), Faith and Deeds (James 2:14-26), Loving your neighbor (Matt. 22:39), not being whitewashed vessels (Matt. 23:27) – the emblems of a Christ-redeemed life.

The “duck” should show up… even on the “No Smoking” sign in the elevator.

People will notice.

I did.

(photos by


LynnRush said...

Wow. You hit the nail on the head, Lori. Great insight.

We saw this series once, a few years back, by Rob Bell. He had a sermon on BULL HORN guy.

You know the guy who stands on the corner preaching gloom and doom. That so does NOT work.

I like your idea of the just being everywhere, including the no smoking sign.

Love it.

KM Wilsher said...

Lori, great post. There is an in-your-face Christian life and a loving, light on hill Christian life.

I have been convicted by a "Street-Corner preacher", but have also been exasperated with the "trak-pushed-in-my-hand doomsday caller" I think the world probably has felt the same.