“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “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.
Explanation of the Text
Why can’t I “love” both God and money?
- “Love” – Agape. This greek word means “Loving someone/something more than one’s own life.” It is your CHIEF love. It is at the top of your hierarchy of ‘loves.’ If money is your “chief love,’ can you have a second “chief love”? Clearly, one cannot have two chief loves, thus the powerful statement by Christ: ”you cannot serve both God and money.”
In the text, Christ continues the discourse with great audacity, saying that one needs to hate either money or God.
But I don’t hate God/money. This seems a bit drastic.
The words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ cannot be understood outside of the other words in the text.
- “Hate” – Detestable, strong dislike, aversion and hostility, to kill in the heart.
- “Devoted” – Help, hold, or devoted. To join with, to maintain loyalty to. To become one with. Isn’t that what the Lord is seeking from all of His children? A devotion so close, so tight that our heart beats and thoughts are equivalent to that of what His are! It is important to note that this “adherence” or “becoming one with” is an intentional choice of the one who loves!
- “Despise” – to look down upon, presumed disrespect, to feel contempt for something or someone, to scorn. This word is used in Rom 2:4, “and do you have contempt for God’s patience…” and in Matthew 18, “see that none of you despises one of these little children…”. In a number of languages the equivalent of ‘to despise’ is ‘to think that something has no value’ or ‘to reckon something as being worthless.’
“You cannot serve God and money”
Let’s break down this passage and see what these key words that Jesus is using…
- “Serve” – literally means “To serve in a humble manner in response to a command or demand of someone else.
- “God” – Theos…God: You cannot have two Gods. It is clear who you answer to. It’s clear who calls the shots.
- “Money” – Wealth and riches, with strongly negative connotations. There are other words for money that don’t have negative connotations. But instead, Matthew (or more so, Jesus) uses the word for Money that includes those negative connotations. Money is not bad, but this specific word was ‘coined’ specifically to be used in a negative context with money.
- 57.34 μαμωνᾶς, ᾶ m (an Aramaic word): wealth and riches, with a strongly negative connotation—‘worldly wealth, riches.’ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, ἑαυτοῖς ποιήσατε φίλους ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας ‘so I tell you: make friends for yourselves with unrighteous worldly wealth’ Lk 16:9; οὐ δύνασθε θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ ‘you cannot serve God and riches’ Lk 16:13 (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, 561).
Why Can’t We Serve Both God and Money?
This passage in Romans makes it clear that there is only one that you are a “slave” to. You cannot, according to Scripture, be a servant to two different things/people. You are either on one side or another. There is no middle ground, thus the strong word used for the word “money.”
James 4:4 – “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
James continues this thought of “Friendship with the world is enmity with God”. You are either on one side or another. There is either friendship or enmity.
D.A. Carson, Expositor’s Bible Commentary
Both God and Money are portrayed, not as employers, but as slave owners. A man may work for two employers; but since “single ownership and full time service are of the essence of slavery” (Tasker), he cannot serve two slave owners. Either God is served with a single-eyed devotion, or he is not served at all. Attempts at divided loyalty betray, not partial commitment to discipleship, but deep-seated commitment to idolatry.” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
Signs of loving money more than God
- Anxiety – You have hope in the uncertainty of riches. When they start acting up, you start feeling anxious.
- Stinginess towards God & fellow man.
- Materialism – ”This life is all that there is. Therefore, get all that you can get.” He who dies with the most toys wins.
- Pride towards fellow man
- Lack of Gratitude towards God as the source of all good things
- Greed – “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation… into many harmful desires… which plunges them into destruction…” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
- Lack of Contentment – Always chasing the wind.
How to Not Be a Slave to Money
- Pray: I need God to change me. Continue to pray without ceasing. All of the following should be done with and through prayer.
- Repent: Turn from your sin and run towards God.
- Give: Break the power of money in your life. Check out GenerousGiving.org
- Go and Serve: Look for opportunities to sacrifice your time, talents, and treasures for the benefit of the Kingdom. Consider mission trips, service projects, or even your own church’s nursery!
Who Calls the Shots?
Practically speaking, who calls the shots in your life? I know many of us have been guilty of not following a call of the Lord because of money. Maybe we value our savings accounts more than giving generously. Have you made a ‘god’ out of your budget? Have you made an ‘idol’ out of your savings account? Ultimately, God is the one who calls the shots! If money is your master, you will not heed the call of the Lord. You won’t hear it. If you do hear it, you won’t obey it. Instead, if God is your one true Master, “Lord,” you will happily follow what the Lord is calling you and enabling you to do. What (or who) drives your decision making?
“If money is your master, you will not heed the call of the Lord. You won’t hear it. If you do hear it, you won’t obey it.”
Money isn’t the Problem… Love is
Are you loving God or money? Remember, you cannot serve two masters!
Why can’t we serve both God and money? Because Jesus commands against it. Jesus himself was speaking these words in Matthew chapter 6. It’s an imperative directly from God Himself. Don’t be mistaken, money is a powerful tool that can be used to advance God’s Kingdom here on Earth. However, you cannot put money on the throne. You are not called to idolize your finances and/or assets. Remember, God is on the throne! If your worship is with your money, you are worshiping the wrong god. They both (money and God) demand 100% of your allegiance. Our God is a jealous God, who wants 100% of your worship. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14, NIV84)
“A man may do some service to two masters, but he can devote himself to the service of no more than one. God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world. When two masters oppose each other, no man can serve both. He who holds to the world and loves it, must despise God; he who loves God, must give up the friendship of the world.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
- Take advantage of our free personal stewardship reviews so you can take your next steps to being a better steward.
- Send us your questions, comments and thoughts.
- Subscribe on your favorite podcast provider so you never miss an episode.
- Leave a 5-Star Rating & Review wherever you listen to podcasts!
Material presented is property of The Stewardology Podcast, a ministry of Life Financial Group and Life Institute. You may not copy, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, or exploit any content without the expressed written permission of The Stewardology Podcast. For more information, contact us at Contact@StewardologyPodcast.com or (800) 688-5800.
The topics discussed in this podcast are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations. Investing and investment strategies involve risk including the potential loss of principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
Securities and advisory services offered through GWM, Inc Member FINRA/SIPC