This is a series by Athena Dean Holtz on Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) in the Church. Click here to read part one in the series.
It’s Not What You Have, It’s What Has You – Part One
The envelope with its blue and gold lettering was in my hand. With my heart pounding in anticipation, I waved it around the room.
“How much do you think it is this month?” I asked the kids.
They gazed up into the air as if sighting an object far out of reach. “Hmmm…I’ll bet it’s $18,000!”
As I pulled it slowly out of the envelope, I saw the numbers spill across the check. My payment for the month was $21,000. Not for a year, but for a month!
Chuck playfully snatched the check out of my hand, “Gimme that! I’ll make a copy and keep it with the others. Hey, this really proves the dream is real!”
Now, I thought as I looked around me contentedly, we have enough to live the good life and share with others. We are finally cashing in on all our hard work!
Our entire family of six was going on a week-long cruise to the Caribbean. Choosing a glitzy resort wardrobe made me feel like a movie star. We were now able to buy the kids the clothes they wanted, and extras like snowboards and skateboards for our teenage sons. Almost completely out of debt, we had just moved into a 3,500-square-foot house with a 180-degree view of Puget Sound. For the first time in many years we had all new furniture in a brand-new house. A shiny mahogany dining room table, beveled glass in the matching china cabinet, a plush oriental rug and elegant maroon and green striped sofas gave the upstairs an exquisite feel. Floor to ceiling windows framed spectacular sunsets, snowy sharp mountain peaks and the ever-changing gray to blue waters of the inland sea. The downstairs rec room where the kids could have their friends over to “hang out” was dominated by a luxury pool table with comfortable couches. It all felt so good.
But, I was consumed! Eaten alive and I didn’t even know it. Just that morning I had read in Mark 8,
“What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
My eyes may have registered the words on the page, but they had not made it to my heart. For months my religious routine had been on automatic pilot—a quick prayer and a few minutes glancing at a Psalm. I couldn’t remember the last time I heard God’s voice, leading me to a deeper walk with Him.
This first part of chapter one of Consumed by Success: Reaching the Top and Finding God Wasn’t There was written over twenty years ago, and illustrates where I found myself after being lured back into MLM while I was in full time ministry. My first experience with MLM started in the early 1980’s with a company named A.L. Williams where I became one of the few female Senior Vice Presidents. It was in the middle of this quest for meaning and success in MLM that I found the Lord and ultimately was convicted and walked away from network marketing, only to be drawn in again years later as a believer. The enemy knows where we are vulnerable and knew well how to draw me in and lead me astray.