Who You Serve Shows Your True Master

imagesThird, who you serve shows your true master. We see a chiasm in Jesus’ words.

A     No one can serve two masters,

  • B     for either he will hate the one and
    • C     love the other, or
    • C1   he will be devoted to the one and
  • B1   despise the other.

A1   You cannot serve God and money.

A equals A1. The words, “No one can serve two masters,” is the same as the words, “You cannot serve God and money.” B equals B1. To hate one is to despise it. C equals C1. To love one is to be devoted to it.

Jesus takes up the same theme of the use of money in vv. 19-23. In v. 19, Jesus talks of the storage of money. In v. 22, He talks of the sharing of money. In v. 24, Jesus talks of the single-minded devotion to money. But Jesus only used money as a prime example here. The issue is not about money, but about single-minded devotion to God. If you are a slave, you serve only one master. You cannot serve two masters. Every believer should serve only one master—God. Every believer should be single-minded in her devotion to God alone.

I read a story about “a pig and a chicken walking down the road together.” As they walked along, they read a sign advertising a breakfast event. It called for people to cook breakfasts to benefit the poor.

The chicken said to the pig, “I have an idea. I can donate my eggs for this breakfast event. You can donate your ham.”

“The pig replied, ‘Not so fast, for you it would just be a contribution, but for me it would be a total commitment.’”[1]

God requires absolute commitment. Absolute commitment means exclusive commitment.[2] You cannot serve God absolutely while you serve money. You cannot serve God exclusively while money.

Jesus says that money is a master. The word, “money,” is from the Greek, mamonas, which is translated from the Aramaic noun, mamon, meaning, “property, wealth, earthly goods.” (Friberg) Jesus knows that there are two masters. There is God as your master. There is money as your master. But you cannot serve God and money at the same time. In the kingdom of God, you choose only God as your master.

To serve God plus money is to commit idolatry. In the OT, idolatry is the serving of God plus another god. Idolatry is the love of God plus the love of money.

Idolatry is mixed worship. Idolatry is serving God while serving money. Idolatry is serving money while serving God.

Idolatry is divided loyalty. Idolatry is serving God with one half of your heart, while serving money with the other half. To serve God requires undivided loyalty.

In the context, to serve money is to store up treasures on earth. But to serve God is to store up your treasures in heaven. You cannot store money on earth while storing money in heaven.

To serve money is to have a bad eye, a covetous eye. To serve money is to keep your money from the poor. To serve money is to keep your money from the work of the Lord.

But to serve God is to have a good eye, a generous eye. To serve God is to be ready to share your money to the poor, to the needy, and to Lord’s work.

A man had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. He could receive little

company and was not to be excited. While in the hospital a rich uncle died and left him a million dollars. His family wondered how to break the news to him with the least amount of excitement. It was decided to ask the preacher if he would go and break the news quietly to the man.

The preacher went, and gradually led up to the question. The preacher asked the patient what he would do if he inherited a million dollars. He said, “I think I would give half of it to the church.”

The preacher dropped dead.”[3]

To serve money is to be attached to your money, loving money. To serve God is to be detached from your money, loving God. To serve money is to serve money without God. To serve God is to serve God with your money.

We say we serve God, not money. But every day, we prioritize money. We say we have a generous eye to the poor. But every day, we have a generous eye only to our own needs. We want to be generous tomorrow. But today, we have to buy many things for ourselves. We even stress ourselves every day; because we prioritize ourselves, wanting to buy things for ourselves.[4]

Who do you really serve every day? Who is your master? Who you serve shows your true master.

Let us stand and ask God to search our hearts again. Ask God to show you if you have a generous eye or a covetous eye. Ask God to show you whom you really serve.

If you have a covetous eye, repent your sin. Ask God to give you a generous eye. If you serve money, turn from your false god. Decide to serve God alone.

[1] Paul Lee Tan. Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations (Rockville: Assurance, 1984), # 5211.

[2] Hagner, Matthew, 159.

[3] “Giving,” Sermon Illustrations. Cited March 14, 2015. Online: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/g/giving.htm.

[4] Hare, Matthew, 73.

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