“No man can serve two masters“
Serving God And Mammon
Jesus pointed out that no man can serve two different masters. “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” He then completes the thought by adding, “You cannot serve both God and Mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
Here Jesus sets before us two masters who desire our allegiance and obedience. The identity of God is simple and straightforward, but who is “Mammon”? This word is translated as “Money, or Riches” but that may be an over-simplification of the “god” that competes with the Almighty Jehovah for our affections.
Matthew Henry explains Mammon this way: “Mammon is a Syriac word that signifies gain; so that whatever in this world is, or is accounted by us to be, gain (Philippians 3:7) is mammon. Whatever is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life is mammon. Self, the unity in which the world’s trinity centres – sensual, secular self – is the mammon which cannot be served in conjunction with God.”
This shows that Mammon is the spiritual embodiment of all that we pursue in this life that caters to our creature comforts and sets itself up against God. Paul also says in his letter to the Ephesians, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has not any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (5:5).
Devotion to God, and the pursuit of His kingdom, will constantly lift our eyes and desires toward heavenly things. The practical worship of Mammon, and all that it embodies, constantly drags our thoughts and motives down into this fallen, earthly sphere.
As Paul shows, this will lead us into a life of immorality, impurity, and greed. Such a way of life cannot be joined to following the glorified Christ in a life of discipleship.
Since Money and the possession of it is the way to attaining all the greatest and latest “creature comforts,” mankind is driven by the desire for economic success like never before. Practice in politics, education, much religious activity, and more is now assessed and determined by economic considerations and possibilities.
This has filtered into the events of everyday life and has invaded our thinking on practically every level of existence. When this becomes an obsession and the goal, if you will, we are not working for God, but against him.
The Bible indicates that this obsession with financial gain will be the dominant mark of the antichrist and his attempt at global supremacy. He will use his economic and technological power to extort obedience from the nations (Revelation 13:15-17).
His great city, will be the most productive financial centre the world has ever known – buying and selling everything imaginable, even the bodies and souls of men (Revelation 18:11-13). As the “state of the market” becomes the chief consideration in many decisions and actions, the world moves ever closer to this final stage of Satan’s attempt to control global affairs.
As this condition of greed grows and intensifies, moral principles and God’s laws are easily cast aside as men willingly sacrifice individual souls and lives, and the welfare of nations, on the altar of Mammon, their god.
It is no wonder that “the voice from heaven” calls out to the people of God, saying: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:4-5).
The situation referred to in Revelation may require a literal physical removal from the city and empire of Babylon at that future time, but today we are called, just as urgently, to be separate in spirit from the world and whatever is driving it toward the idolatry that will climax in opposition to God and all that is associated with Him.