I've learned a thing or two in my life, and I've become fairly keen to finding the real purpose behind people's motives. For those of you who want the quick answer to the "Is Christianity the ultimate pyramid scheme?" question, simply scroll down to the very last paragraph.
First off, let's define what a pyramid scheme actually is, since most of us -including myself- didn't realize.
pyramid scheme: noun. A form of investment (illegal in the US and elsewhere) in which each paying participant recruits two further participants, with returns being given to early participants using money contributed by later ones.
In a nutshell, the reason it's illegal is because you're requesting others to pay for nothing, meaning they don't get a product or service. They are simply giving money to someone in hopes of getting money at a later time. Sounds fishy, right?
I've personally never been a part of a pyramid scheme, but my grade school friend, Pat, was in a chain letter. I'm not exactly sure how it worked, but my friends and I were riding our BMX bicycles in the woods...and Pat cruises in on a $2,000+ gas powered dirt bike! Once his parents found out, he had to sell the dirt bike. Why he thought he could keep it from his parents was childish, but he was a child. And children make childish mistakes...it's part of growing up.
Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing businesses are also misconstrued as "pyramid schemes", but that is inaccurate. To put it simply, pyramid schemes are illegal by definition, and MLM's are legal businesses selling a product or service. If they weren't legal, they would be shut down immediately and the owners would be arrested. Case closed. According to Gitnux as of March 20, 2023, a survey found that MLM generates an average of $32.5 billion in sales annually, and the worldwide network marketing industry is estimated to be worth around $180 billion. Again, this industry wouldn't exist if it were an illegal pyramid scheme. Not all MLMs are equal, but there are some decent ones out there. The trick is finding that "unicorn" MLM with zero competition because most of them are a dime a dozen.
I only know of one network marketing company that stands out from the others, because they didn't set out to become a MLM. I'll just call them Company A. Now, company A figured out the secret formula for a breakthrough health technology, and a big pharmaceutical conglomerate tried to buy them out but didn't want anyone to use the product anymore. So Company A passed up a check of an unfathomable amount and decided to share the product through word of mouth. If Company A was focused on the money, they would have taken that huge payday from big pharma. However, Company A wanted to help people, and the pharmaceutical company was going to sit on this technology and not share it with anyone. And that's the difference between Company A and all of the other "dime a dozen" MLMs. Company A started with a product and realized the network marketing approach would be the best method of getting the product into the hands of as many people as possible and as quickly as possible.
The other MLMs start out with the business model, and then try to come up with their product or service. Why do you think so many of these other MLMs go belly up? It's because of this second approach and most of the leaders within the "dime a dozen" MLM companies know the life of their business will only last a few years, which is both scary and extremely misleading for the associates who invest their blood, sweat, and tears into a company that's going to go down the toilet in 2-5 years. And those associates leave with nothing but a sour taste in their mouth. That is a big reason why MLMs get a bad wrap, and I can understand how they get thrown into the pyramid scheme category. The other reason they get a bad wrap is due to their poor compensation plan. Most associates don't recoup their original "investment" into the product or service, so it can also be mislabeled as a scheme. But I view it just like a purchase of something, good or bad. You can buy a "bad" used car, and you can buy into a "badly managed" MLM.
Tip of the Day: Do your proper research and don't make purchasing decisions based purely on emotion. And when I say "proper research", I'm not talking about a quick Google search to see that Joe Schmoe left a negative review. Anyone can leave a negative review, so don't be swayed by that kind of commentary. For example, if you want real answers to a health technology product, go to Google Scholar or Pubmed which provide thousands of studies on just about everything.
What's this article have to do with Christianity? Now that you have a basic understanding of what a pyramid scheme is and isn't (as well as a brief summary of good and bad MLMs), we can get to the meat of this post. But first, I have some questions for you to ponder:
- Why do people preach Jesus to others (what's their motive)?
- Does it benefit them personally?
- Is it really worth their time to convince a non-believer to trust and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior?
The real answer as to why Christians preach the Good News of Jesus to others isn't found in the natural realm...it's found in the spirit. In the natural world, preaching Christ takes time, energy, resources, and can be outside of our comfort zones. It's definitely not the easiest line of work, and it can be quite challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally. But in our spirits, we Christians (which means little Christs) know that Jesus is real and is sitting at the righthand of God the Father in heaven. Jesus has unconditional love and died for our sins. We can trust that our spirits will be with Him in heaven for eternity.
Since heaven is the ultimate prize, we want everyone to know Jesus and enter heaven's gates. It's not by works, but by faith that we enter into heaven. Our works are just the outward sign of the magnificent transformation inside of us. We don't HAVE to preach to others to go to heaven. But the more you spend time in the Bible (the Word of God), the more you will be prompted to do so. Jesus said to go out and preach to the ends of the earth. So we should either do that or contribute in some way to help spread the message to non-believers.
Our reward for living a life for Christ is also found in heaven, where He will give us crowns for our accomplishments, and we'll be cheered on by the angels and cloud of witnesses. But instead of us holding onto all of the crowns we earned from our work on here on Earth, we'll place them all at Jesus' feet. Because he is worthy, worthy, worthy! And we yearn to hear Jesus say, "Well done" to us.
Did you know that we will all have different assignments in heaven, based on what we accomplished for the kingdom while living on Earth? Some may not agree with me on this, and that's okay. Spoiler Alert: We're all not just going to sit around on clouds playing harps in heaven. Honestly, if we get into heaven by the skin of our teeth, we should still be forever grateful! Amen! Perhaps I'll do a separate post on this topic later.
Christianity started with Jesus. He shared Himself with 12 disciples and those around them. They went out and preached, and those who were saved began sharing with everyone they knew. That is very similar to how these "pyramid" style networks operate. And since there are over 2.5 BILLION Christians on record in the world today, it is the ultimate "pyramid" organization, but it's no scheme. And every Christian is directly linked to Jesus without any middleman or woman, but we are certainly thankful for those men and women who shared Jesus with us. We will get to experience the full splendor and glory of the Lord for the rest of eternity, so it's the best decision anyone can ever make! Hallelujah!
Thanks for reading, and please share this post if you were blessed.