Is MMM against Scriptures?
The current recessionary environment has made lots of families impoverished. Several people have lost their jobs and some bread winners no longer have daily bread. MMM obviously seems like God’s timely answer to the current economic hardship. It has seemingly brought back smiles and rekindled hope according to its faithfuls. Members are growing by the day despite caution from various regulatory agencies and the Federal Government. MMM’s website is currently one of the most visited sites in the country. Its unprecedented success has also seen the emergence of similar pyramid schemes in recent weeks. However, I think as Christians it is important to find out what God thinks about pyramid schemes.
To the investors that are neck deep and have received their bountiful harvest in multiple folds, every contradictory remark sounds like the voice of the devil.
To the investors that are neck deep and have received their bountiful harvest in multiple folds, every contradictory remark against MMM sounds like the voice of the devil. Yet to be bought over investors have seen their colleagues and family members recount their testimonies and are at the point of yielding to the seemingly irresistible temptation. However, the big question remains, what is God’s stance on these type of schemes? In trying to give a scriptural basis, my objective is not to condemn or justify any action. Neither is it meant to make anyone feel self-righteous. It is just to provide a guide and hopefully get people to align themselves with the bible and not popular opinion.
The scheme which claims to be, “A Mutual benefit fund, a community of people, who help one another for free, and absolutely consciously transfer money directly to each other, from one bank account to another,
While I understand that a lot of people have fallen prey due to ignorance or the unbearable economic hardship. There are also lots of people that would rather ride the tide and hope it does not crash while they are in the scheme. The question remains- Is MMM a fraud or is it God’s divine intervention to Nigerians? Although many people are still in denial and refusing to believe that the model is actually built on falsehood? With the benefit of hindsight, It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the scheme will crash?
As Christians, does our quest for quick and easy gain becloud the fact that a relative, a retiree, a widower might become worse financially at the end of the day. The bible says the blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). People that are good students of history can bear witness that there will be sorrow at the end of the day with this scheme. I am aware of people that were ruined financially based on investing in Ponzi schemes several years ago. Below are some bible verses on investments in fraudulent ventures:
- Proverbs 20:17 (NIV). Food gained by fraud is sweet to a man, but afterward, his mouth is full of gravel.
- Proverbs 10:2-3 (God’s Word Translation) Treasures gained dishonestly profit no one, but righteousness rescues from death. The LORD will not allow a righteous person to starve, but he intentionally ignores the desires of a wicked person.
- Proverbs 16:8 (NLT) Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest
In addition to the verses above, Romans 13:1-4 (NIV) lets us know that everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. I believe as responsible citizens and Christians, we ought to obey the authorities in the land. Several government authorities have come out to put a disclaimer and warn people not to participate in the scheme but it has definitely fallen on deaf ears. According to loyalists, the government has not provided an alternative. They also feel justified as they believe the current economic hardship is as a result of certain action or inaction of the government. Whether they are politically right or wrong, two wrongs definitely do not make a right. God’s word ought to be the final authority regardless of the situation. It is on this premise that I will not recommend a Ponzi scheme for any investor.
I would also like to speak from the professional viewpoint. As an investment manager, investing in Ponzi scheme is against the ethics of the profession. A financial professional is meant to uphold the rules governing capital markets. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) which is the body that regulates investments already came out with a disclaimer on the scheme advising investors not to participate. Most people do not realize that the regulator acted in their capacity as they have a responsibility to protect investors. Their intention obviously is not to get into anybody’s space or hinder their financial prosperity but to ensure a free, transparent, fraud-free investment climate.
My intention is not to be judgmental but help someone that is at the valley of decision. Provide insight to the person that has no inkling about investment. To provide strength for the brother that has fought temptation and is about throwing in the towel and participating in the scheme
As a financial professional, I am meant to act for the benefits of my clients. I am to act with skill, competence, and diligence. It would definitely be hypocritical of me to advise a client not to invest and I do otherwise. If my honest opinion is sought, I am morally obligated to speak the truth and not be biased. I have a fiduciary responsibility towards my clients and by extension every potential investor. At this junction, I would like to mention that Ponzi schemes are not investments. The major objective of a genuine investment is to earn a return from the profit the invested assets have generated. However, with Ponzi schemes, no value is created and no profit is made from any business venture. It is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is a zero sum game; somebody is obviously paying for all the interest everyone is being paid when no value is created. The person paying is not a philanthropy but new unsuspecting subscribers into the scheme. Apart from the fact that the crash will be colossal, I am of the opinion that it is contributory to the delayed economic resurgence we so longed for. This is pretty simple, funds that are meant to go into productive sector of the economy is currently being redistributed and no value added. Entrepreneurs that are meant to rise up and fill the void in the economy are now looking for a get rich scheme. Like they say, if something is too good to be true, it is probably not true.
In closing, I will like to state that all Ponzi schemes will end up hurting more people than they help. The basic mathematics of these schemes necessitates that there will be many times more people losing than gaining. However, if you are still confused and unsure, I think the safest place to start is to talk to God about it. Do your due diligence and also talk to a financial professional. A simple research reveals the criminality of the scheme and countries that it was banned. Can several nations be wrong to have banned the scheme? Selah. I believe God can bless every of His children in recession and the answer is not through a Ponzi scheme. Christians need to pray and ask God for ways to Make, Manage and Multiply money – MMM (The 3Ms of Money). That is the MMM I believe in and not an infamous Ponzi scheme.
My intention is not to be judgmental but help someone that is at the valley of decision. Provide insight to the person that has no inkling about investment. To provide strength for the brother that has fought temptation and is about throwing in the towel and participating in the scheme. Also to spark a rethink with that brother and sister that invested knowingly but did not think deeply about the negative ripple effect on their neighbours, family members and the nation at large. One undeniable fact is that the scheme has further reaffirmed that people need help urgently. Rather than only advising our friends that lost their jobs not to be involved, let’s show genuine concern and provide real help. Let’s pay that school fees, house rents, build hospitals and provide employment. Let the love of God permeate this country. Let money be redistributed not by fraud but by creating value. God’s love is the solution to the recession and not MMM.