“I am so excited about this opportunity.”
“We are going to change the world.”
“I have such good news to share with you, when can we get together and talk?”
What we should be saying about God’s kingdom
Believers use some of the same phrases to talk about network marketing as they do about salvation. Too many Christians find more liberty to talk to their friends and neighbors about making money than about Jesus.
New converts who are part of a church often will join the wave of network marketing because they want to be a part of the “in group.” Unfortunately, 97% of people who join these deals get left out of making money. So, if you sign up ten new converts in your deal, nine of them will be disappointed. Since they learned about your MLM program at church, this failure could taint how they see God’s kingdom.
Do you really want to offend new believers? About such a person, Jesus said, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).
Network marketing, multi-level marketing (MLM), and direct sales programs are all about money. If you really wanted to help people, you would give them money. If you are wanting to make yourself rich, you will convince everyone else that they will get rich with you so they will join your heap (or pyramid) and make you lots of money.
When the Kingdom crosses with cash
I visited a church once where I heard the pastor’s wife and another lady in the fellowship talking. The minister’s wife said, “Boy, we sure had a lot of people show up at the meeting last night!”
“I know,” the other dear sister said, “five more joined last night.”
“This is so wonderful,” the pastor’s wife responded dreamily. Then with a laugh she said, “Pretty soon, there will be more people at the opportunity meeting than come on Sunday morning.”
Jesus threw out the marketers
You should not market products or make money at church. If Jesus came to some churches, He just might throw all these MLMer groups out the door with their charts and presentation packets. He would turn the pyramids upside down and turn the occasion into a prayer and healing opportunity meeting.
Instead of selling a miracle product He would just work some Himself. Perhaps the fact that so many Christians turn to miracle products is an indication of our powerlessness in prayer, fasting, and obedience to the Lord.
My MLM addiction and recovery
I got into a vitamin deal and made hundreds of dollars. Then I got into another deal in telecommunications where I made thousands of dollars. Then I jumped into the best deal on the planet and made enough to live on it for a while.
Then God began to deal with my greedy heart.
I got so caught up in building my heap that I forgot to care about winning souls. I found myself taking advantage of brothers and sisters by talking them into joining so I could get qualified for the next level. I started out thinking I was going to help everyone get rich, but eventually I found the system was working me.
When I finally humbled myself, I went back and repaid those who had spent hundreds of dollars to join me. I never promised them anything, but I felt that since they came into the deal on my recommendation, I should do the right thing.
Here’s the story of a conman who would have done MLM if he had the opportunity. When he met Jesus, I think the story would have been the same:
Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through. There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, “Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today.”
Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy.
All the people who saw it started grumbling, “This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!”
Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much.”
Jesus said to him, “Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham.”
(Luke 19:1-9, GNB)
How to make money
If you are going to put effort into something, start your own business. You will work just as hard at network marketing or MLM opportunities as you will for any other business. And there is no such thing as residual income. You might profit off MLM for a couple years, but eventually people will find a better product or move on to the next deal and you will be left starting over again.
Get an education, develop a skill, or study wise ways of investing your money. Why put yourself at the mercy of a corporation that could dissolve with one lawsuit? Why should you try to profit by getting people to spend $200, $400, or $600 on a business and products that are over-hyped? Keep your friends as friends and do not manipulate them into joining your deal.
I think it is fine for wise Christians to turn a decent profit. However, we should never extort or overcharge people for goods or services. We all need money, and if you have any to throw away, I will be the first to hold out a wastebasket. MLM and network marketing, however, are some of the biggest trash cans of all, not just for your money but also for your relationships. These programs can segregate churches between those who are in the deal and those who are out. Worst of all, they distract believers from the greatest opportunity on earth.