In our freedom driven culture, the term “master” seems to be a thing of the past. The Bible tells us that as believers, we must have the heart of a servant. If that’s true, then there must be a master. We all serve something. We are fooling ourselves to believe that we don’t. We serve ourselves, our careers, our families, our own personal pleasures…the list goes on. The Bible is clear, however, that we can only serve one master at a time. Being loyal to one typically requires us to be disloyal to another.
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 wealth. – Matthew 6:24 (NASB)
I find it very interesting that when discussing the concept of two masters, Jesus uses money as the possible second master. During this particular section of the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus decides to focus on wealth and possessions. He clearly demonstrates how easy it for us to serve money instead of God. Jesus tells us to store up treasures in heaven instead of focusing on earthly wealth. He also tells us not to worry about basic needs like food and clothing.
So how does money become a master in our lives? It becomes our master when we let it consume our thoughts. We look to money to meet our needs instead of God.
Your master is whatever (or whomever) consumes your thought life. What drives and motivates you? Whatever the answer is, that is what you have chosen to serve.
I love how Jesus uses both sides of the spectrum to illustrate His point. Both the rich and the poor are at risk of becoming servants of money.
Money is your master if you are:
- Focusing on building earthly wealth instead of investing in heavenly “treasures” – Matthew 6:19-21
- Obsessing over money instead of trusting God to meet your basic needs – Matthew 6:25-33
Money, wealth, and possessions seem to be driving forces in our culture today. The rich are always trying to get richer, and the poor are simply trying to survive. The Bible is clear, however, that money will never satisfy. (Ecclesiastes 5:10, Hebrews 13:5-6)
It’s difficult not to focus on finances in today’s culture. Our current economic situation makes it easy to lose sight of what we’re really working towards. This world will one day pass away, and wealth and possessions will mean absolutely nothing. Jesus is the only thing that will remain. I believe that God desires for us to work and to take care of our families while we are here on this earth, but He never meant for it to consume us.
We aren’t on this planet to simply work and make a living; we are here to serve our God and to produce fruit for the Kingdom.
It’s not a sin to make money and to save for the future. The Bible says that those are both good and admirable things. It becomes a sin, however, when we make money the thing we serve. When we make it our master, we are heading towards disaster and an unsatisfying life.
God wants our focus to be on Him alone. We cannot fulfill our God-given destinies when our focus is on anything but Him. He desires for us to have a “heavenly” perspective rather than to be focused on the things of this world. I know I’m not the first to admit how difficult that can really be. It’s hard not to focus on money when you have bills to pay and kids to feed. Learning to surrender our worries to Him is an ongoing process. It takes great faith to trust that God will meet our basic needs. The key is to keep our eyes on Him and never look away.
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.