Helping for profit.

I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard a story about people who sell prayer for a living. Apparently, there are people who sell instructional books on prayer. According to the story, one book actually ends something like an infomercial, “I guarantee results in 30 days or your money back.” I know where the producer of the segment meant to take me, and I was there. I was incredulous that people were selling prayer. Of course, the producers gave the some of the individuals the opportunity to give their side of the story. Many made the point that they were merely filling a demand that exists in society. People want this product, and they are giving it to them. Further, they saw it as a service. Prayer, after all is a good thing. If people want guidance with their prayer, what is wrong with giving it to them? I calmed down after the story was over. After all, profiting on religion is not a new thing. I imagine it goes back as long as organized religion.

My problem with all of this comes not with the act of providing a service for people that need it, but when religion becomes big business. I believe for many it is a big business. I have trouble believing the sincerity of someone who professes they have the best interests of other people at heart, when their activities clearly enrich their own interests. Living a comfortable lifestyle is one thing, but when someone who claims to speak the word of God lives in an estate purchased with the profits of the words they speak, I wonder who they really speak for. Ask yourself the popular question, “what would Jesus do?” I can not see the person I read about in Sunday school ever saying the words, “I guarantee results in 30 days or your money back.” How about you?