Hidden Nuggets Series #61 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24
Ben Hur had a choice…his Jewish heritage or Rome’s agenda. He found out you cannot serve two masters.
Scrooge had a choice…profit or Christmas. He found out you cannot serve two masters.
Choices pit one side against another. They require us to move decisively in one direction. You pick a side and go with it, all the while hoping for the best.
There is no middle ground.
There is no playing both sides.
There is no giving 100% to both agendas.
Why You Cannot Serve Two Masters
The Bible highlights one such distinctive choice when it pits God vs. money as alternatives to serve. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24,
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Mammon is a funny word that is little used today. It refers to wealth or riches and is usually used with a negative context, in that wealth has become one’s object of worship and devotion. So you can see how that would be in conflict with a worship and devotion to God.
It’s noted here why you cannot serve two masters. We can’t spread our love around to both sides. Either we hate one and love the other or we despise one and are loyal to the other. It’s the nature of our humanity I guess that causes us to throw all of our positive emotions in one direction. The antithesis soaks up the negative. Kind of like what we do with our favorite sports team and their hated rival.
Tiers of Love
To be sure we can’t live our lives without money. We absolutely need it at some level to survive. Even missionaries who go to the field gather financial support from churches and individuals before they embark.
So what is God getting at? I clearly need to focus on having money to meet my needs. Would that not be classified as loving it since my desire is to have some so I can eat?
God’s not saying here that money is not useful. He has allowed money to be used as a tool of provision for our lives. But just because it serves that role doesn’t mean we have to love it.
When I say to my wife “I love you” I’m communicating that I’ve given her my heart at its deepest level. Yes there are other people to which I say the words “I love you” and truly mean it. But none have the same level of significance.
Picture a shelving unit that has many rows. The item of most importance resides on the top shelf. Those with less significance we place on the lower shelves. They are still important to us but the top shelf is always reserved for the place of highest honor.
In things that you worship God wants that top tier. He doesn’t want money or anything else for that matter to be placed on the shelf of highest honor. According to the verse above, to do so would be communicating we love it more than God.
That’s a choice I don’t want to be on the wrong side of.
Questions: Are you placing other things above your love for God? How deep is your love of money? Is the pursuit of it interfering with other relationships? Where can we draw the line so that money doesn’t rule our lives?