Matthew 6:24: Whom do you serve?

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24, NIV)

Money came about as an easier way to trade one's produces for food, clothing, and other necessities. The intention was for money to serve people. Yet, too often money becomes a person's master. Accumulation of money can give a person a false sense of security (Luke 12:15-21). Having money as one's master is not necessarily limited to greed for money. Too often today people depend on their jobs to gain a sense of worth. Yet what happens when people retire? Do they lose their sense of worth because they are no longer needed at work?

When any time the pursuit of the material things necessary for living becomes one's master, the result is the same. Because of the brevity of life, we eventually feel betrayed by this master. The Parable of the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1-13) applies to this situation. The parable does not say whether the manager was dishonest or wasteful because it was irrelevant to the parable's meaning. Jesus is not suggesting that we be dishonest or wasteful at work (Luke 16:10-12). In fact, we are to work as if we are working for God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Ephesians 6:7). He was talking about our objectives for possessing and using the resources that we have. Relationships with people, which will continue in Heaven after this life (Luke 16:9), are much more important than accumulating far more than what is necessary to sustain one's life.

What determines our true master whom we love rather than despise is the location of our treasure (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34). For God to be our Master we must treasure what is stored in Heaven rather than on earth (Matthew 6:19-20). We also need to view the world as God sees it rather than how the world sees itself (Matthew 6:22-23).

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) applies to how we invest our lives. As with the three servants, God has given all of us a life and resources to live that life. This life and the resources are not our own. They belong to God. Like the servants, we will all give account of how we lived our lives and used the resources God gives us. The unfaithful servant with the one talent (an amount of money) is like people that take care of their lives, provide for themselves, and end well by the world's standards. The two faithful servants are like people who risk their lives from the earthly standpoint (Matthew 6:33) and invest in God's kingdom as cleverly as the wise businessmen invest their money.