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Monday, April 3, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 29 of 40: Serving Two Masters

Matthew 6: 24
No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.

During the first century AD, laborers would frequently have more than one employer.  Acts 16:16 describes a slave with more than one master.  While Jesus does not deny that this situation might exist, He describes a situation that results in turmoil for the slave, hating one master while loving the other, devoted to one and despising the other.

Jesus warned us earlier not to forsake eternal treasures for temporal treasures and to live a life imbued with spiritual light.  Now He is telling us what happens if we try to have it both ways, if we try to be a slave of God and a slave of the world and the world's number one temptation, wealth.

Wealth is not necessarily a sign of God's blessing.  In other passages, Jesus warned of the danger of wealth.  In Luke 18: 24-25 Jesus says, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God.  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."  The rich farmer (Luke 12: 16-21) who accumulated wealth was called a fool by Jesus, saying, "So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."  In His call to His disciples to live a life of sacrifice, Jesus warns in Mark 8:36, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

Being a follower of Christ is a commitment that affects every aspect of our lives.  It changes the way we see things.  When a person comes to faith, people become more important than things.  The accumulation of things at the expense of people is shown to us to be wrong.  Wealth, while not evil in and of itself, is subordinate to serving and loving God.  The problem with wealth is that it can become a person's primary desire; their God.  The possession of wealth is not a sin, but is a very heavy responsibility.  We cannot let the accumulation of wealth take the number one position in our lives or distract us from our vision of God, our vision of service, or our vision of sacrifice.

We must always ask ourselves, does the way I accumulate my wealth please God?  Does the way I use my wealth please God?  Does my wealth interfere with my relationship to God?  Am I a slave to wealth or am I a slave to God?

Tomorrow we will study worry.

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