“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24
Behind the Book
The first of the four gospels to be written, Matthew opens the New Testament with the genealogy of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, King of the Jews. Matthew himself was born to a Jewish family. Before leaving his profession to follow Christ, he was a tax collector. In this time, tax collectors were considered greedy and dishonorable, which is important to note for the context of verse 6:24. Another thing to note, is Matthew’s emphasis on the “Kingdom of Heaven” in his gospel. He brings up that phrase 50 times, clearly drawing his audience’s attention to the subject.
Faith & Work Application
This section of the Sermon on the Mount begins with verse 19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” But what is treasure really? What is John referring to here? Our answer comes from verses 25 and 33. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”
The treasures of this earth are those things which we protect (often out of anxiety) and which we pursue or seek.
While, yes, so often we protect and pursue our money, finances, and the items we spend our money on, we may equally pursue and protect our jobs. We all want / need to have a job so that we can actually make money.
Some of us are blessed to have roles that we love and enjoy, but regardless of our feelings toward our current company or position, we all fall into the chase of moving up or moving on to make more money. We can become obsessed workaholics pursuing and protecting our jobs rather than pursuing and protecting our relationship with God and the people He has surrounded us with.
This is not to say that you should give up on work and quit your job. Neither is Jesus explicitly saying that money in and of itself is evil. We know from 1 Timothy 6:10, that the love of money is the root of all evil. Our jobs and our work are not evil, in fact, they are good! God created humans to work and in the garden, he called it good. Yet, like anything God has given us, without stewarding it properly, it can become an idol. God knows our needs. He provides for our needs. He asks us to serve him with our money and to serve him with our work, not to serve our money and work. We are called to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (6:33).
How have you been seeking and serving your work rather than using your work to seek and serve the kingdom of God and his righteousness?
“Lord, I recognize that I cannot serve two masters. Show me in what ways I have been serving my work rather than you. Reveal to me how I can serve you through my work instead. Help me to protect and seek my relationship with you.”