Should a Christian engage in Multi Level Marketing? Are you a Christian and wondering if it’s OK or Biblical to engage in the 21 century business of Multi Level Marketing? Have you ever wondered if the Bible supports MLM? I am sure you’re reading this post because perhaps for the first time your mind is beginning to ask the pertinent question; does my faith support Network Marketing?
Join Me in this Most illuminating Journey. I must warn you that this blog post is really very long and you’re advised to save or bookmark it, then read when you can spare some time.
The Principles of God’s Business Model
How would God run His business if He were living physically on earth today? God’s business model has four basic philosophies:
Someone rightly said that “If the Purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable”. Have you ever wondered how the most beautiful things always come in twos? I’m sure God had a genuine reason for creating certain things in twos. For instance, you have two eyes but only one sight, two nostrils but one nose, two lips but one mouth, two hands, two legs, two kidneys and the list goes on and on. So it is with business.
Every business has two basic uses. It can be likened to your two eyes. The first eye of your business is to bring in returns on Investments. No one sets up a business with the sole intention of running it under. If a business fails to bring in returns and increase the shareholders value, then it cannot be said to be a business. For it to be considered a business, it must bring in returns.
The second eye of every business is its purpose – raison d’être . The purpose of every business answers the simple question “Why does it exit?”
When you add the two eyes of the business, together they align to make your business a success.
A business with a goal of making money but without a purpose, cannot be successful; Likewise a business with a great purpose but without a goal. Consequently, for your business to be in agreement with God’s Business Model, its purpose must also be in complete agreement with the Word of God. The question you should be asking is; “what’s God’s purpose for me and my business?”
“How can you align your business to match with His purpose for your life?” I don’t mean to sound spiritual, but to help give you an undiluted truth that has made certain businesses prosper while the rest hung on the brink of extinction.
In 3 John 1:2 the bible says: “Beloved I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” You can see that God’s earnest wish or purpose for us is three-fold:
Prosper in Our Soul
Your business must align directly or indirectly with any of the above parameters for it to fall in line with God’s purpose. The Bible is awash with stories of businesses that experienced a dramatic turnaround after they re-aligned with God’s purpose.
Simon Peter was one of the professional fisher men that later became an apostle of Jesus. On a certain day, Jesus was at the seashore and a multitude of people pressed in on him from every side. Jesus needed to put a considerable breathing distance between himself and the ever increasing crowd of people; meanwhile, Peter was by the seashore washing his fishing net, disgusted and disappointed after a failed night of fishing without a single fish caught. So Jesus asked Peter to assist him with his boat so he could preach from the shorelines. Peter offered his empty boat to Jesus’ use and after protracted long hours of preaching, Jesus ended his message but He wasn’t one to take a free service without repayments.
He instructed Peter to cast his fishing net yet again into the sea for a catch. Jesus was fully aware that Peter had fished all night without catching a single fish. Peter was a virtuoso fisherman who understood the ins and outs of fishing; fishermen preferred nighttime fishing because that’s the best time to catch more fish, that notwithstanding, he still obeyed Jesus and cast his net.
Peter caught so much fish that the nets started to break and he had to beckon on his colleagues to help him pull out the fishes. Remember that this business was without any success less than 24 hours ago and I’m sure Peter was going to declare bankruptcy soon had He not aligned his business with God’s purpose.Peter’s colleagues did not align their businesses with God’s purpose so they were idling when Peter called for their assistance.
Jesus was God and He could have easily declared a bumper fishing day for all the fishermen present, He could have said because I am God “every fisherman here begin to fish” but He didn’t do that, He simply prospered the boat and fishing net that aligned to His Purpose.
Another striking example in the bible about businesses that aligned themselves to God’s purpose was the “feeding of the 5000”. In Mathew’s account, Matt 14:13-21, Jesus fed 5,000 men (women and Children were present, but not counted) with only 5 loaves and 2 fishes. The loaves and fishes belonged to a young boy who was also present at the meeting. However, it wasn’t stated if the boy was selling the food items or if it was his lunch. The most important point is that he (the boy) offered his package to the apostles of Jesus. He aligned his business to God’s purpose.
The Bible tells us that after the five thousand had eaten and were fully satisfied, Jesus instructed His apostles to gather what was left and 12 baskets were filled with bread and fishes—incredible right? By positioning your business to align with God’s purpose, puts your business on the spot where God’s blessings can flow to you unhindered.
But What if your business is a conventional one that provides services, values or products, how can such business be aligned to suit God’s Purpose?
If your business helps other people EARN more MONEY, improve their HEALTH, and SAVE more SOULs, then your business can be said to be in line with God’s purpose. Peter, didn’t change his line of business, he simply yielded his boat to Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathea offered his personal expensive tomb (grave) for the burial of Jesus, and till today his name is mentioned whenever the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is told.
What You Must Do
Your assignment today is to support the work of God either by donating a certain portion of your income or by offering your services towards the expansion of God’s kingdom.
Cornelius was a Roman Centurion who feared God and gave much arms to the poor. God saw his heart of service and sent Peter to preach to him and his household about Jesus so they could be saved. At this point, a favorite passage in the bible comes to mind “God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love”. Find ways to do more for God through your business.
System stands for: Save yourself Time Energy and Money. Let’s take a quick look at the creation process recorded in the Bible. Gensis 2:3; “And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all his work which God created and made”.
The question is – Can God get tired? If He can’t get tired why does He need rest? Couldn’t He have created the whole world in 10 seconds, why use 6 days instead?
We understand that God is Omnipotent, He has the ability to do anything He wills. But when we look closely at the word “rest”, the Greek word for this scripture is actually “Cease”. To cease from labour, to become passively involved or To physically discontinue a process. So we could say that God rested because He had put “SYSTEMS” in place which would require no further work or labour.
Profits Are Better Than Wages
In the book of genesis, God created seed bearing plants to reproduce themselves, animals to reproduce themselves, and humans were also not left out. By so doing, after the initial creation, God had put in place systems that would ensure the continuous recreation of things already in existence. So God had no business working again, He could go to rest with the full assurance that the earth would run itself without His further input. God is a God of Systems, therefore for your business to align with God’s Model, you must automate your business (Put Systems in place) to make your money work for you.
If God was a business man in this day and age, He would not go out every day to look for His daily bread or work for money daily like most people do. Instead, He would put a system in place like He did at creation; He would spend quality time to build a system which would eventually run without His further direct physical input. He would rest from His labours after putting in the required work at the initial stage.
If you go out to work daily and at the end of each day, you spend what you worked for, you would need to go back to work yet again the next day, just so you could have what to spend the following day. This is the rat-race, a lifestyle of enslavement to the “work-spend-work-spend”. In fact, you are not better off than the stone-age man that hunt animals daily in order to survive. The important lesson here is to learn how to put your money to work in order to bring more money to you.
I would like to drive my point home by using a well known story in the Bible; it is called “The parable of the talents”.
Mathew 25:14-30, captures a story about a Man who was about to take a long journey and he called his servants together and to each he gave his property. Amplified Bible says each talent was probably worth ($5,000). To the first servant he gave five talents, to the second he gave two talents and to the third he gave one talent; to each he gave according to his proportion and capacity. Consequently, they all got what they could work with, there was no Favoritism.
The servant that got five talents went at once and traded with it (Buying and Selling, Laboring to make Money while Physically Present) and made a profit of five more talents, the one that got two talents also traded with it and made a profit of two talents, whereas the servant who got one talent dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s talent. Upon the return of their master, he called his servants to settle accounts with them.
The first two servants brought with them their profits of five and two talents respectively and their master was full of praises for them and he rewarded them accordingly. In Matt 25:14-24 the Bible says; the servant who got one talent also came forward saying, “Master, (HE WAS REFERRING TO GOD) I knew you to be a harsh and hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not harvest. (HE ACCUSED GOD OF REAPING WHERE HE DIDN’T SOW AND GATHERING WHERE HE DIDN’T HARVEST). He continued, So I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is your own”.
His master answered him, you wicked and lazy and idle servant! Did you indeed know that I reap where I have not sowed and gathered where I have not harvested? (NOTICE THAT GOD DIDN’T DENY ANY OF THOSE ACCUSATIONS). Then you should have invested my money with the bankers (INVESTING HIS MONEY WITH THE BANKERS TO EARN FINANCIAL RETURNS) and at my coming I would have received what was my own with interests. His master took the talent away from him and commanded that he be imprisoned without an option of bail.
As the scriptures pointed out earlier, the master gave them talents according to their individual abilities. The servant the master gave only one talent wasn’t because he was hated by the master. The master knew his abilities and was very sure he could invest the talent for financial returns. This servant understood his master very well; he knew his masters’ financial principles and how he multiplied his money through several investment portfolios. The master would have made the money work for him by investing it instead of trading (LABORING) like the other servants did. He would have put a SYSTEM in place to work without him being there physically. Therefore, the master didn’t act in error by giving him only one talent. He knew that if the servant followed his master’s footsteps, he would have made much more returns that the rest.
This story clearly illustrates that God would not labour, instead, he would put a system in place that would do all the work for him without his direct or physical input.
The kind of wealth God has in store for us, can never be accessed through physical labour or work. You can never get rich through your wages or salary, true riches comes from making profit, as rightly captured by Jim Rohn “PROFITS ARE BETTER THAN WAGES”.
To have a full grasp of the importance of relationships in creating the God’s Business Model, we must take a look at the brief meeting Jesus had with the Samaritan woman by the Well. Now understand that Jesus was a business man and his product and services were the gospel and message of salvation. How did he spread his message? He built his business by establishing quality relationships with ordinary people he met during the cause of His daily activities.
In John chapter 4, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at a well while she came to fetch water and Jesus being thirsty asked her for some water to drink. (Asking for Some Water was the Ice Breaker). After a brief discussion with the woman, she was convinced beyond doubt who Jesus was and immediately ran back into the city and told them all she heard from Jesus and the entire city trooped out to meet Jesus. This is a very good example of how Jesus spread His message. Meanwhile, there was no social media or advertising agency available then, Jesus simply employed the word-of-mouth advertising. Most of his apostles were brought to Him through word of mouth; His fame grew through word-of-mouth.
It doesn’t matter how much money companies spend on social media and traditional advertising, we end up buying products and services that were directly recommended to us by our family members or friends. In other words, the most effective way to spread information about your business, products or service is by laying emphasis on relationships and engaging more with the word-of-mouth marketing.
With the arrival of the social media as one of the main streams of building relationships, all businesses have realized the importance of social media which also is another form of word-of-mouth advertising. Since Jesus capitalized on relationships we can then infer that if God were here in this era, He would equally build His businesses on the wheels of quality relationships. For you to apply the God’s business model, you must find ways to integrate relationships into your business.
From birth, we had parents who nurtured and tended to us, we were constantly surrounded by uncles, aunties and older siblings who protected us. At school we had teachers and professors to guide us aright; in church we had religious leaders and spiritual guides. Unfortunately, when it comes to business we had no one to mentor us.
Mentorship is probably the most important of all the four principles of God’s Business Model. A business could have a purpose, system, relationships but without proper mentoring, everything collapses like a pack of cards.
Jesus was aware of the significance of mentoring which was why He taught them regularly. The Bible recorded that Jesus mentored His disciples for three and half years before he was crucified. He didn’t just give them theories; he physically showed them what to do in every given situation. This regular mentorship class was the reason the disciples of Jesus were able to grow and gain much confidence which enabled them spread the gospel far and beyond Israel. Even after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus had to return to encourage His disciples further; He didn’t just leave them to figure things out by themselves.
Who Is A Mentor
A mentor is simply someone who has been where you would like to be and is willing to guide you and show you how to get there.
Who Is A Role Model
Often times, people use the word mentor and role model interchangeably, but it’s wrong to use the two words together. A mentor cannot be said to be a role model.
If a person is not willing to show you how to arrive safely at the same place they did, he or she cannot be called a mentor but a role model, since you try to model your actions and behavior based on theirs without a direct relationship with the person through which he or she can offer you direct guidance or instructions. You have to also understand that a mentor is supposed to become progressively unnecessary as you move along your path of success. Initially you significantly depend on him but as time passes you would become gradually independent of him and finally, you two become colleagues or equals.
The lesson here is that a mentor qualifies you for what you aren’t qualified for while qualifying for it. Mentorship is the short cut that takes one from being a rockie to a rock star. If your mentor makes $1,000 weekly, and you do exactly what he says, you would also make $1,000 a week. At the beginning you would never understand why he asks you to say things in a certain way or do things in certain ways but as the relationship progresses and as you keep getting his kind of results much faster, you’d get to the point where your results would be exactly like His and you’d be more successful compared to if you had started without his mentorship and guidance. Mentors are quite different from godfathers in that godfathers use their mentees as leverage for achieving their political or social ambitions.
So, when you have that burst of “Eureka moment” to whom do you turn to? When you hear about a business opportunity, who do you ask before making a decision? Your Wife, Husband or Childhood friend? If you want to travel to Fiji Islands for instance, who do you ask how to get there? Someone who never left the shores of Nigeria or an ardent traveler who is familiar with the Fiji Islands? Obviously the one who knows the terrain very well and not the person who only read about Fiji Island in traveler’s magazines.
You need a mentor who has been to where you would like to go. Let me shock you, to answer the question about whom to ask about your business idea. None of the above is the correct answer unless the person is successful in what you would like to do. If he failed, then he is not the right person to ask since he will be giving you wrong advise, if the person is in the business but not getting much results, he is also not the best person to talk to, because if he knew better, his business would be better.
There’s nothing wrong with telling your family about your business interests but you must never take their advice unless they are successful in a similar business you would like to engage in. My best advice would be to look around you for people that are succeeding in your area of business interests. You can get mentors that are outside your city or even country, most seasoned professionals are happy to offer mentorship to budding entrepreneurs.
There are certain businesses that already have mentorship as a part of their business model. In this case, mentors are happy to mentor you at no cost at all. This is because their business success depends on your own success, so they are willing to go any length to see you succeed. Look for this kind of business and engage immediately. So in order for our business to align with God’s Business Model we must put ourselves in the place of Jesus Christ as a business man in this present dispensation.
For your business to align with God’s Word, the following criteria must be met:
It must help spread wealth, good health and spiritual rewards to other people,
It must have a system in place so you don’t have to be present to work it all the time,
It must be based on building quality relationships,
It must have mentorship
GOD’S KIND OF BUSINESS
You Can Buy An Existing Business
Ask yourself why they are selling the business in the first place. If the business is so good and yielding good returns, then why sell it? Do you have to be present all the time for the business to bring in money? It is said that 90 percent of new businesses fail in their first year.
Buy a Franchise
A franchise is an agreement under which the franchisee (the person buying franchise) undertakes to conduct a business or sell product or service in line with the modus operandi prescribed by the franchisor (the owner of the franchise), while the later undertakes to assist the former through advertising, promotion and advisory services. The major problem with running a franchise is its start up costs which is usually in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Franchises can also fail, just like new start-ups; they are not immune to failure.
Become an Investor
It’s been shown that only about 5 out of 100 businesses succeed, therefore, you’re most likely to end up throwing your hard earned income into a bad business.
Stocks and bonds require great knowledge and savoir-faire hence; most people do not have what it takes to make a success of their investments in stocks.
Start Your Own Business
Remember not to follow the crowd; the majority is not always right, the voice of the people is usually not the voice of God, especially when business is the subject of discussion. I encourage budding entrepreneurs who want to try out their hand in new businesses to ensure their businesses aligns with God’s business Model as laid out previously in this post.
What Then Is God’s Kind of Business?
If you had paid a very close attention since the beginning of this post, certain business ideas would have started creeping into your head. It’s clear that to become wealthy you must start up a business that thrives on God’s business Model. You can either start up a new business from scratch or you could connect to an existing business. If you look around you, there are businesses that are already operating the God’s business model, there’s no need reinventing the wheels as Pastor Ebi Ofrey would say. Just plug in immediately.
There is no other business model that involves spreading wealth and health to other people, leveraging on relationships (word-of-mouth advertising), creating systems and mentorship except the Network Marketing profession. Surprised?
I was surprised too at the realization of this truth. No doubt, MLM has a bad reputation especially in Nigeria but more and more seasoned business icons are beginning to speak highly of it as the next biggest industry to unfold. Warren Buffet one of the world’s richest men owns more than one Network Marketing Companies.
It doesn’t matter if you like Multi Level Marketing or not. If God were here on earth doing business, He would be fully involved in Multi Level Marketing Business. Most people base their knowledge of MLM on what they heard from their nannies or someone who knew someone who did MLM. If you want your MLM business to work for you, then make sure you apply the four basic principles of God’s business Model.
The only evidence of knowledge is improved behavior, take what you’ve learned from this blog post and put it into action.
Are you already in a network marketing company? If you are not sure which company to join, Here is a Great Advice!
This Post was adapted from an original book “Becoming the God’s Kind of Millionaire” Author: Dr Ebi Ofrey.
This book will be available online shortly.