Jesus said we can’t serve God and mammon. What He says appears obvious, but there is a lot more to it. Mammon is more than just money, and Jesus isn’t saying that we have to serve either God or mammon. He’s saying something deeper.
Mt. 6:24 Seems obvious, but gets misinterpreted.
We can only serve one master at a time. Servants listen for their master’s voice and they do what they are told by the master. If God is our master, we listen for His voice and lean into Him, seeking His face, looking to do what He says.
Mammon can include more than money–success, worldly security, fame. If that becomes our master, we do whatever it takes to fulfill the master’s wishes. This takes our eyes off the Lord, but it’s worse than that.
Money doesn’t have a limit, but we do!
God knows our limits; money doesn’t.
God loves us; money doesn’t. It’s a cruel and exhausting master.
We are created to worship. If we don’t worship God, we’ll worship mammon.
Here’s what happens when we try to serve two masters: You come to hate one and love the other, or hold one to one and despise the other. “Well, I could never hate God,” we say. We need to be more honest. This is what happens when we have any other god before the Lord. How many of us have been tempted to resent God, or His claims on us?
Two quotes from Francis Bacon: “Money makes a good servant but a bad master.”
“If money be not thy servant, it will be thy master. The covetous man cannot so properly be said to possess wealth, as that may be said to possess him.”
Money can be a great servant. If you’re hungry, your money can buy you food. If you’re thirsty, it buys you a drink.
Dave Ramsey, the famous Christian financial author, says we need to tell our money what to do. That makes it our servant. That involves budgets, rules about where your money does and doesn’t go, and it means telling your money, “You’re not the boss of me” every so often!
Has little to do with money itself. God knows we need money. It’s the motivation, the driving force, the place we put our trust. It’s whatever might be motivating us that’s NOT the Holy Spirit!
“The material things of this world are not safe for you unless they are received, and lived in, under MY kingdom over you.” David DePra!
The question is, What do we take care of first? If seeking God’s will is first, we’re fine. If following money, or success, security outside of God or anything else in this world is first, not fine.
Here is where we get confused on that verse: Jesus didn’t phrase it to say you have to serve God OR mammon, but you can’t simultaneously serve God and mammon. This is the temptation for serious Christians, for those who really do love the Lord, but are fearful, or a little greedy, or really don’t trust Him for everything. Jesus says we’ll love one and despise the other.
Happily, Jesus is trying to make a larger point here. Matt. 6:25-33
See ye first! The great secret of a spiritually prosperous life!
Jesus isn’t saying to stop working. He’s saying to stop fearing. He’s got it. Relax.
We face different scenarios as we grow: Who to marry, what job or career to follow, how to serve the Lord. Will we let God be the master of these choices? Or do we arrange “all these things” (Matt. 6:33) first, and then give God the rest?
So let’s serve God, and use money. Or we’ll be serving money and using God.