Blog Archive: wealth

Leadership Team Development, Quixtar, Amway, and Greed

LTD is Quixtar is Amway

In the past few months, I’ve been contacted by several individuals about joining Leadership Team Development. I did a little bit of research and found hints at a connection between LTD and Quixtar. I asked one of the individuals who had contacted me and she told me straight out that LTD is Quixtar. I did a little additional research and found out that LTD is headed up by Larry and Pam Winters, a couple who is “Double Diamond” pin level with Quixtar (see Quixtar Wiki). So, for anyone who is wondering, LTD is Quixtar. And, we all know that Quixtar is Amway.

The Perils of joining LTD, Quixtar, or Amway

These organizations (or should I say “this” organization, singular, since it’s all really the same thing) portray an “overt Christian emphasis” at “the rallies, events, and in the motivational material”1. Having only gone to these seminars when I was very young, I can’t speak to the accuracy of the Amway / Quixtar “Christian gospel” message, but it is clear to me that the members’ greedy pursuit of worldly riches conflicts with Christ’s preaching. My dad, who used to be a part of Amway and was motivated by Larry Winters’ tapes, described Amway’s “motivational meetings as nurtured by and nurturing greed.” Nurturing greed while also proclaiming the Gospel is dangerous and often leads people to the conclusion that Christ came and died on a cross to make us prosperous or wealthy here on this earth. This is a different gospel than the one Christ preached.

Following are some thoughts I’ve gathered about this topic – the dangers of greed, and how the pursuit of wealth stands in opposition to what should be our greatest treasure: Christ.

But first, I’ll reference another guy’s comment I found while doing some research about LTD.

I found it offensive that this couple tried to bill this as a ministry opportunity. I went, and took the wife with me because I really liked the couple, we need some friends, and they seemed genuine. Now, I wonder. I wanted to do some networking in the Christian world. Since I’m in finance for Christians, that is an important part of what I do. I did not expect to be invited to satiate my greed and carnal laziness. Oh yeah, did mention that one could make enough to take one’s child to Costa Rica to study Spanish, and work from there? Or that you could work only a few hours a day and make a quarter million?

It’s sad that people fall for this, but then it meets our most basic and carnal desires. We are sinfully lazy, lust for power and wealth, and are inherently rebellious towards those in authority. To be self-employed, make a lot of money, and do it in very few hours seems great right? It’s too good to be true, and don’t be taken in.

Excerpt from “LTD’s Pyramid Scheme

In my conversation with the second individual who invited me to join LTD, I was told, “Yes, people can be wealthy and a Christian … lol … I never knew either.” I’m not contesting the fact that someone can be both wealthy and a Christian. I just wonder how closely the pursuit of wealth, fame, popularity, knowledge, pleasure, etc, aligns with the pursuit of Christ. How does seeking after riches measure up to seeking Christ’s kingdom first? Revelation 22:20 says, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Can I sincerely pray “Come, Lord Jesus” while musing, “Show me the money!”? Is eager anticipation of Christ’s imminent return congruent with the pursuit of riches?

My point is not to suggest that earning money is a bad thing. It isn’t. I have a job, I’m earning a living. I would be a bad steward of those gifts which Christ has entrusted to me if I did not work. But, my chief goal in life is not to earn a lot of money, to “make it big” or to be successful, as the world defines it. Rather, my desire is to know Christ and make Him known. (You can read more of my thoughts about success in my paper, “Happiness Through Humility“.)

John Piper discusses the surpassing value of the pursuit of Christ in his book, Don’t Waste your Life. Piper comments, “God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives” (emphasis added). I simply cannot comprehend how building up treasure for myself here on earth makes much of Christ in my life.

What you think about, what you talk about betrays the state of your heart. I’m reminded of Luke 6:45 – “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” What is the abundance of your heart speaking?

Earthly riches will pass away. Recall James 1:9-11, “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.”

My concern is simply that the appeal of wealth and material success can be such a great temptation and we need to guard our hearts against our desire to pursue those things. These things are passing away with this world, but the word of Christ will stand.

On January 8, 2006 Joshua Harris gave a sermon titled Affluenza – the Disease of Greed at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD. They no longer have the MP3 available on their web site, though I’m sure they would provide it upon request. Anyway … I wish I could post the entire sermon text here – Harris hits the nail on the head when he preaches on Luke 12:13-21.

Sixteen out of the 38 parables of Jesus deal with money, possessions, their use, and their relationship to us.

Jesus never condemned wealth in and of itself, but he knows how easily our hearts can make money our god. Jesus knows and he wants us to understand that one of the greatest, if not the greatest hindrance to spiritual life and spiritual growth is material wealth and the temptations it brings with us. Friends, if we ignore the dangers of affluenza, we put ourselves in great spiritual peril.

Jesus says to all of us, “you DO have a money problem.” Money has too much of your heart. God wants us to see that when it comes to money problems, our greatest concern should be avoiding the pitfalls of covetousness.

Greed says that the quality of life, their worth is measured in the size of their bank account and the quality and quantity of their possessions. But in verse 15, Jesus warns us not to fall prey to this mindset. He says, “Take care. Be on your guard against all covetousness. Watch out for it because, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” In other words, watch out, don’t believe the lie of greed. Don’t buy into it. Because if you do, you’ll pass by what truly matters in life.”

Greed blinds us. It blinds us to what is truly important in life. It blinds us to spiritual realities and Jesus illustrates that by telling us a story of a rich man who has believed the lie of greed. It’s important to note that Jesus doesn’t say that having money or being skilled at making money is wrong … The issue is how we view the money we have, how we use the money we have. The rich man’s problem is not that he is rich, but that he is selfish. He hoards what he has. He uses it for his own pleasure and he puts his trust in his wealth.

Where do you put your trust? Is it in your wealth? Is it in the “safety” of America? Would you be satisfied if you never earned more than 40k per year (+ whatever normal inflation is)? Would you be satisfied with less? Or is your life meaningless if you can’t earn a bigger salary, have a bigger house, nicer car, and more possessions?

I like what Paul says in Philippians 4:12 – “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Paul’s happiness is not contingent upon worldly success. His life is not caught up in the pursuit of financial gain. Rather, it is in knowing Christ. Earlier in the book (1:21-24), he says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” Earthly riches are the absolute last thing on Paul’s mind. For that matter, anything that is “of this world” is of no concern to Paul. His only reason for desiring to remain on earth is so that he may encourage the Philippians in their pursuit of Christ.

What is the state of your heart? For what do you live? Do you live to earn a lot of money, to buy a large house, to “keep up with the Joneses?” Or do you live to proclaim Christ’s message of salvation to this lost and desperately needy world? When you face Christ on that final day, will you joyously receive his praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or will the way you live now require you look on Him with head hung low and receive his reprimand, “You wicked and lazy servant”?