Jesus tells us that “no one can serve two masters.” But what could this possibly mean? Don’t we all have many obligations and responsibilities? This message challenges us to live every area of our life in devotion to God.
In this passage Jesus states that one can’t serve two masters. He doesn’t say “can’t serve two masters equally.” He says you can’t serve two masters at all. It’s one of most radical, brilliant and misunderstood teachings of Jesus. A “master” is any person or thing you assume a servant posture toward, have an obligation to serve or have allegiance to. To apply Jesus’ teaching here, we need to ask questions like:
- who or what do you assume a servant posture toward?
- who or what do you feel you have an obligation to serve?
- who or what do you spend most of your time thinking about?
- who or what helps define your sense of worth?
- who affects your emotions and behaviors the most?
When we ask these questions, it becomes clear that some of our masters are good and “normal” while others are destructive. A typical person may have a list of masters that would include: God, wealth, job, family, friends, physical appearance, addictions, religion, nationalism, sports and hobbies. Some of these masters are normal, necessary and good, but others are very destructive. The question is: Why would Jesus say that we can’t serve two? We serve more than two all the time!
If you serve God, there can be no competitors. If God is your master, then he’s not merely to be a master among many, not even the most important master among many. He’s your only master, your only Lord, the only one we assume a servant posture towards. But that seems insane, for we have obligations to money, career, family, friends, health. So what does Jesus mean?
Jesus is calling those who follow him to place everything under the reign of God, not to simply put God in the pot with all or our other obligations. Whatever allegiances we have are only aspects of our allegiance to God, and whatever is outside his character and will is not something we should have any allegiance to. Jesus is inviting us to a radically centered and integrated life. At every moment, in every situation, you have one obligation, that is to do God’s will. By earning money, using wealth as he wills, loving family, serving friends, submitting to government as much as possible, staying healthy, even engaging in recreation, all of these should be acts of worship to our one and only allegiance.
Hide Extended Summary