Two Masters

Jesus taught us that we cannot serve two masters.  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 understood to be riches or money.  You cannot serve God and also serve your desire for riches.  These two things are opposed to each other.  Either you will love God and not serve your desire for riches or you will love riches and not serve God.  You cannot love both and serve both.

With lots of money, you can buy or do whatever your fleshly nature desires.  The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  1 Timothy 6:6-10 “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  Here the apostle Paul teaches us to have godliness with contentment.  Whatever possessions we acquire in this life we will not be able to take them with us when we die.  You and I may never be rich, but we can desire to be rich.  That desire will lead one to be tempted to do things that are contrary to serving God.  One may be tempted to lie, cheat, or do something else that is dishonest or contrary to godly principles because of his desire to be rich.  He may be selfish and covetous of what others have.  One cannot serve God and riches.  The love of riches will cause one to stray from the faith.

A rich person is often proud because he sees himself as somehow better than those who have less.  He will usually trust in his riches to solve any problem that may come his way rather than trusting in God.  The apostle Paul taught Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17 “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”  Pride and lack of trust in God are additional reasons that one cannot serve both God and riches.

Covetousness is defined as the immoderate desire for the possession of something, especially for wealth.  To covet is to love riches.  Colossians 3:5-6 “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.”  Here, covetousness is called idolatry.  It is also called idolatry in Ephesians 5:5.  I understand these to say that the love for riches makes one an idolater; he worships riches rather than God.  One cannot worship or serve two masters.

Perhaps there are many things that one can love and serve besides God.  Love for riches is just one master contrary to loving and serving God.  You cannot serve yourself and serve God; God must come first.  Matthew 16:24-26 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’”  For you and I to be true followers of Jesus, we must deny ourselves.  We cannot love the world and love God as well.  1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride are contrary to loving God.  You cannot have two masters.

We are taught that there are other things that are contrary to each other.  2 Corinthians 6:14-16 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?  And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?  And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:  ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’”  Righteousness and lawlessness are contrary to each other.  We are to be slaves of righteousness not lawlessness.  Romans 6:18-19 “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”  We should cleanse ourselves from all uncleanness and lawlessness because as Christians we are to be slaves of righteousness.  We cannot have fellowship with light and darkness at the same time; they cannot exist together.  We cannot have two masters.

My encouragement to you is to have God as your only master that you love and serve.  You cannot love and serve two masters.