Hope for your financial life and beyond

No One Can Serve Two Masters

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

you cannot serve two mastersAnakin Skywalker had a choice…the good or the dark side. He found out you cannot serve two masters.

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?

Next Post: 5 Practical Steps to Consider When Making a Career Change

Prior Post: The Best and Worst Places to Save Money in the Budget When Getting Out of Debt

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  1. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    That gives me an idea that people have some difficulty in being fair or balance. It’s really hard to balance everything like expenses, and etc ‘coz it takes “practice” and “commitment”. In the end, it’s in our decisions what we are serving for or direction we are leading to in life.

  2. Love this post and I totally agree. I don’t love money but I do love the freedom financial independence provides me. Money is just a powerful tool that if misused can also be dangerous. I tell myself that I am blessed everyday and thank God for everything I have and that I have accomplished.

    • Yes…the financial freedom is nice! It’s one less thing to worry about. That’s a positive as we can turn our attentions and motivations to other life issues.

  3. I have seen this happen lately when I focus too much on freelancing instead of my partner. I have been better lately, but being in debt means I am so focused on making money. But it’s a means to an end. My partner is for life.

    • I understand what you are saying Melanie. My wife and I went through a similar situation when she went back to school to change careers. That transition forced us to spend less time together as she was always studying. But now we are seeing the benefits from that short-term sacrifice.

  4. Great post, Brian. God is definitely occupying the top shelf of my bookcase and that’s a great analogy because people do think they can’t love both God and money, which isn’t true. I absolutely love money and see it in a very positive light, but it’s not my first love or a consuming love where I forsake everything else for it. I believe I have a very healthy relationship with money and choose to use it a way that honors my beliefs and bring joy and happiness to myself and others. You can’t serve two masters. But you can definitely learn how to use money in a way that honors your master.

    • “But you can definitely learn how to use money in a way that honors your master.” That’s a great line Shannon! Completely sums it up.

  5. Very well said, I like the thought starters going into a weekend 🙂

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