No servant 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.” Luke 16:13 (NKJV)
What Jesus says here probably isn’t new information to anyone. Jesus taught this same thing on more than one occasion. It is important for us to see here that Jesus doesn’t say that we shouldn’t serve two masters. He says we cannot serve two masters.
The New Testament repeatedly says that we are the servants of Christ. Now the word servant that is used means a bondservant, a bondservant was a slave that had no will of his own, but was wholly dedicated to do the will of his master. A slave’s loyalty cannot be divided between two masters; one has to and will always have the preeminent position of love and devotion. What makes us unique is our ability to choose who or what has that position in our lives. Jesus is adamant that it must be one or the other, it cannot be both.
I doubt anyone would say, “I live to serve money”. Probably we would all say that we serve God. What we often fail to realize is that the true test of who we are serving isn’t in the words we say but in the life that we live. In this case we need to realize that how we spend our money reveals who we are serving. Before you bought something have you ever asked yourself, “What does this purchase say about me?” Or “Who does this purchase show I’m serving?” Neither have I, but apparently we should.
Probably more than anything else the way we spend our money shows what is really important to us. If you want to do something challenging, take some time and make a list of what is important in your life. Number this from 1-10 with 1 being what is most important in your life and be honest. Then get your most recent bank statement and tally up what you spent your money on and number it from 1-10. Then compare the two lists to see if what you say you value matches up with what your bank account says you value. I haven’t done this yet but I can’t imagine it taking more than a couple of hours. It’s worth the investment of a couple of hours to see if our stated priorities match up with our lived priorities.
When God looks at our wealth and possessions He sees them as a trademark that shows who we are really serving. Imagine how different your view of your money and possessions would be if you viewed it as a trademark to whom you were serving.
The way God sees money, and the way I’ve described it this week, are pretty contrary to our normal American values. So the temptation will be for us to reject it out of hand. However, before you do consider the rest of the story.
Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. Luke 16:14 (NKJV)
When the teaching of Jesus challenged their comfort the Pharisees rejected it rather than honestly examining His teaching or their own lives. If you choose to reject what I’ve written about this week, I want you to honestly answer this question. Why? Why are you rejecting it? Are you rejecting it because it’s not faithful to what Jesus taught here? Or are you rejecting it because it makes you uncomfortable? To accept or reject is a decision that each of us must make for ourselves. But if we choose to reject it let’s be honest with ourselves as to why we are rejecting it.
For further study read Luke 12:13-21.
What did this man want Jesus to do?
How is verse 15 the key verse in this passage?
What does the man in Jesus’ story do wrong?
What is the point of verse 21?