Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Can Mary Kay Save Me?

Now, I'm not going to lie to you - I don't usually go to home parties. It's not that I think there is anything wrong with them in and of themselves, but, well here's my story. Several years ago things at our church were pretty tough. Few people had any time to give to the church, some didn't have any time with their families, some didn't have money to buy groceries. It was a depressing time and I felt bad. UNTIL, my neighbor had a candle party one Tuesday night, I didn't go because I had no money, but I swear there were 25 women from church there. (I just looked across the street and saw the cars!) So I went from feeling bad to feeling mad. Of course if you don't have time with your family or money for food, you have no business at a candle party! So, I've pretty much sworn off parties since then.

But last month I was invited to a Mary Kay party. I went because I am trying to build a relationship with the young lady that was hosting it. I didn't really want to go. I was feeling pukey sick (but still hiding it), I had spent all my money on back to school shopping and I felt like a hagard housewife. But I went (I left my checkbook at home just in case)! And guess what? Their products really are great. There was this microderm abrasion stuff that made my skin feel amazing. So it's pretty easy once you get away from the stress of your life and get romanced by all the stuff and have a nice dessert and chat with other grown ups to decide you NEED or DESERVE to have some of these things. Which is part of the danger for me and why I left my checkbook at home.

But that is not the worst of it. You know they always make you fill out the information cards. I did not want to put my phone number on it, but I did anyway since I had clearly checked the I AM NOT INTERESTED IN A CAREER WITH MARY KAY box. However, a few weeks later I got a call from the "district manager" wondering if she could ask me some questions about the marketing plan. I had no idea what the marketing plan was but figured I could be polite. Well, the marketing plan is the "opportunity" part of the Mary Kay system. As I explained to her that I was a Pastor's wife and didn't feel I could sell anything because I didn't want people in our church to feel obligated to buy stuff from me or feel that whenever I visited them I was really trying to sell them something. Which is part of it, but I didn't let it all out on her like I am doing here!

So here's where this lady crossed the line in my book. (And I think a lot of these type of businesses try to suck Christians in with this method). She told me that Mary Kay believes in God, Family, then work. It is really a step in discipleship. They pray at all their meetings. And you can turn yourself into an instant cash machine. So, I politely declined the opportunity. And please, don't misunderstand, I don't think there is anything wrong with selling make up. But to try to weave it into being a Christian thing and discipleship is over the top to me. How can we on one hand be out to turn ourselves into a cash machine, and also be disciples of Christ? Are we really serving others if it's ultimately only to benefit our bottom line?

What happens to your faith then, when you don't get a brand new car or have all the money that you want? Does that not become an issue of "where's God?" in life?

I came across some verses that brought it all home to me. It is 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Go grab that Bible and read them. Verse 2 says, "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and THEIR EXTREME POVERTY welled up in rich generosity." So even though these Christians in Macedonia were under trial and poor, they gave generously. The passage goes on to say that they gave beyond their ability.

So, here's the deal. If we are focused only on how much we can get or make, how will we ever be able to give generously? We'll only be focused on getting more! The Macedonian's gave out of overflowing joy abounding from the grace of God. If we're looking to anyone or anything else to meet our needs and give us joy we are going to be thoroughly disappointed!

Just this week I was again tempted by greed (which I'm going to write about next). But what are the trade off's for the extra money? Where is my joy coming from - is it coming from the grace of God or am I looking for it in the wrong place? If it's not coming from God, I wonder if there is still an overflow of generosity?

2 Corinthians 8:9
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich,
yet for your sakes he became poor,
so that you through his poverty might become rich."