Easter 1.5: The Jesus Product

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)

The next few paragraphs might come across as offensive to those involved in some way with MLM companies. One pastor I know compared MLM with Mammon. A god with a life of his own, an expansion plan which has found its way into today’s churches. I personally agree, if only because with MLM schemes one doesn’t sell products. One sells the opportunity to make more money how? By getting others to buy into the opportunity as well. The ‘product’ or ‘service’ is an enticement to greater wealth. No one who isn’t extremely nave realises this after a while.

Jesus’ most popular post-resurrection directive to his disciples was to go and make more of themselves. They were to tell people about Jesus, baptise them, teach them His commandments and instruct them to do the same. And on and on it goes. A little like multi-level marketing (MLM), except no ‘upline’ gets credited with a certain number of ‘down-liners’.

It wasn’t about organising something against their persecutors, be it the Pharisees or the Romans. It wasn’t about making money or improving their self-esteem. It wasn’t about separating themselves from their context and communities in the world. It was sharing the message. It was about creating Jesus-valued and Jesus-following individuals throughout the world.

What’s the pitch? What’s so fantastic about ‘signing up’? It won’t be because one gets to earn big bucks in a matter of months. It won’t be because one could earn a trip to Sydney after attaining a certain downline target. Nada. Yet the Christians grew at a phenomenal rate a few decades after the resurrection of Jesus, effectively taking over the Roman empire within a few hundred years.

It was because people amazingly, incredibly find attractive the idea that their Maker is going to make the cosmos right, including their very lives and has in fact completed the first phase of this rescue mission by sacrificing Himself for us. And this loving Creator calls us to continue the battle until the whole world is redeemed. This message, in some uncanny Jerry Maguire sense, completes us. The idea that life might be about radical giving, about welcoming the outcast, about proclaiming freedom to the oppressed and those in bondage – maybe this is what we were made to be.

Action: Compare the reasons for joining MLMs’ and the reasons for becoming a disciple of Jesus. Do you agree with the assertion that MLM is a modern-day manifestation of the God of Mammon Jesus warned about? (You don’t have to agree, of course but it’s certainly a question worth asking, don’t you think?)

(Meditation written by Alwyn Lau, note: MLM is Multi-level marketing … I also noticed thar Alwyn is REALLY good with titles ~ Sivin)

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