What is a multilevel sales program? In reality, every product is sold via a multilevel system. The manufacturer marks it up and sells it to a retailer, who marks it up and sells it to a customer. This is a delivery system that has proved very effective over the centuries.
The multilevel plan we will discuss is different in two regards. First, the products are usually sold through part-time salespeople, who sell primarily to personal acquaintances and friends. Second, there are several levels of distributors, each making a percentage on the sales of those under his or her authority. In most programs, distributors are encouraged to recruit others to sell for them, thus expanding their sales volume and income.
Quite often, however, what started out to be a part-time job ends up as an all-consuming passion to sell more products or recruit more prospects. After a while, everybody is viewed as a prospect and every social activity as a sales platform. When a particular program is approaching its zenith in an area, Christians are stepping all over each other to recruit new salespeople and move to the next level in the company. A lot of otherwise well-meaning Christians have severely damaged their credibility and witness by becoming known as “Mr. and Mrs. Multilevel” in their community.
Anytime Christians look on others as a source of revenue rather than as an opportunity for service, they are caught in Satan’s most common trap: greed.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself” (Philippians 2:3). Many young Christians who were hungry for fellowship have been hurt immeasurably by other Christians who deceptively asked them over for an evening, only to attempt to recruit them to sell their product line. Even more devastating are those who use the church environment to prospect. “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city” (Proverbs 18:19).
If someone is into multilevel sales just for the money (ego, pride, greed), there will never be enough. “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). A Christian must know God’s individual plan for his or her life. Most Christians don’t know what God’s plan for them is and, consequently, get led into many schemes that disrupt their lives.
If most Christians would approach evangelism with the same zeal with which they approach product sales, we would saturate our communities with God’s Word.
The concept of multilevel direct sales is not wrong, but quite often its practices are. Anytime a Christian must trick another person into listening to a sales pitch while promising fellowship, it is wrong! Anytime a Christian is more interested in selling a product than in ministering to someone else’s needs, that person is in service to money and not to God! Each believer must test his or her own attitudes before the Lord.
For information from the Federal Trade Commission on multilevel marketing practices, click here.
Originally posted 3/2/2012
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