Posted 25 Feb 2015
Devotion to one of two masters.
Matthew 6:24 (AMP)
24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).
Perhaps surprisingly Jesus here tells us (verse 24) that both God & mammon (money) are BOTH masters.
We tend to think of money as being at our disposal, something we use, something we work for, horde, treasure, use to get what we need & want. In this way we think of money as being a servant to us & our will; something that is under our control.
But Jesus seems to see money in a different light, & with different understanding. He refers to mammon (money) as a master. Not only that, it is a master that is in direct competition with God, for mastery of us.
Verse 24 assures us that no-one can serve two masters. It is impossible for anyone to do that. We might think that we can serve God &, at the same time, seek after money, but we will always have a split, divergent, widening, polarising mastery issue.
We don’t tend to THINK of money as being a master, but rather as something at our disposal – perhaps that is money’s great secret identity & power. The idea that money is our master offends us; we don’t want to have a master, we want to BE the master! Many, many people think that money will allow them to be the master of their own destiny. Perhaps that is money’s great allure & great danger to us.
But Jesus tells us in this passage that money IS a master. When you think about it, our society, desires & activities seem to indicate how true that statement is. Many people are very actively running after money; think about how we esteem millionaires; billionaires are better! Think about how whole nations are intricately bound up to the money markets; how a dip in a share price can have catastrophic effects on a whole nation’s economy & future. Doesn’t that indicate the “lordship” of money? Think about all the media advertising about the latest gadgets, technology, things we can possess (ie own), it all relies on money, we can only have these things if we have the money first. Whole industries are devoted to providing us with things, in exchange for our money.
Think about owning something: the whole material, western world is devoted to ownership, & ownership always requires an exchange of the thing for our money.
Perhaps now we can begin to see just how much money HAS become our master.
What happens if we make money our master?
If we seek after money as our primary source of security, self-worth, significance, what happens?
01) according to Jesus, we are seeking to serve money as our master, &
02) Since money & God are mutually exclusive (”No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and mammon.”) we are effectively turning away from putting God first, as our master.
I wrote earlier that “we don’t want to have a master, we want to BE the master!” & I think this is born out by the way we live our lives: both Christian & non-Christian. Unbelievers don’t like the idea of their being a master – they want to be the master, but I think that is (secretly) true for a lot of Christians too – particularly western ones! As a Christian we are to accept that Jesus/God is our Lord; our master. We can accept that He has offered us salvation & we gratefully accept it, but He also tells us that He is our master, & we don’t like that very much. That truth rankles our “old man” flesh… a LOT! The “old man” flesh in us is much happier with the western world’s ideas of “being your own man” & “fighting through the crowds to get what you want”; to “stepping over everybody else & proving yourself”. None of that is a Christian idea: it all comes from the unrepentant “old man” flesh within us. I think we western Christians have an uphill struggle with the issue of mastery. But I also think the Bible makes it clear that we have to accept the TOTAL mastery of Jesus over us, in order to fully engage with the salvation that Jesus offers us.
To call Jesus “Lord”, is to say that He is our master. Otherwise we run the risk of Him rejecting us at the end of time, when he says ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ That’s in Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
I think Jesus’ rejection is because those people have done stuff in His name, but never actually submitted to His Lordship (mastery) over them.
In any case, of the two masters on offer (Jesus & Money) I’d MUCH rather have Jesus as my master – how about you?!
If you would like to purchase this Bible Cartoon or read additional notes, follow the link below:
Comments are turned off for this article