“No one can serve two masters, for 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 God and money.” —Matthew 6:24
As I read this verse, the first commandment flashes through my mind. It is a simple call for submission in every area of one’s life to the rule of God:
“You must not have any other gods besides me.” —Deuteronomy 5:7
This begs the question of us all—to what or to whom do we cling? To what or to whom do we allow our devotions to become attached? What commands our attention, consumes our thoughts? Just exactly where do our loyalties lie?
Jesus tells us in Scripture that a divided house will not stand. We cheat our own souls when we seek to divide our loyalties between God and the world, between treasures on earth and treasures in heaven, between pleasing God and pleasing man.
Scripture does not say we must not or we should not, rather we cannot serve both God and the things of this world. Christians are to resist the seductive influence of the glitz of the created.
John tells us:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.” —1 John 2:15–17
The psalmist says:
“I look up toward you, the one enthroned in heaven. Look, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female servant look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes will look to the LORD, our God, until he shows us favor.” —Psalm 123:1–2
I find it extremely interesting that the words translated “devoted to” in our verse for today are from the Greek word antecho meaning: “to hold firmly, to cleave to and to be loyal and devoted to. The word portrays one holding an object directly in front of himself before his gaze, squarely across from himself before his face, and thus closely or near, in order to give his attention to the object” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, New Testament Lexical Aids).
I am confident that is why Paul tells us that we are to strive earnestly to focus our attention on things above, concentrating on the eternal rather than the temporal:
“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him.” — Colossians 3:1–4
We must individually choose what, or whom we will serve. Just as Joshua told the Israelites:
“Now obey the LORD and worship him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and worship the LORD. If you have no desire to worship the LORD, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the LORD.” —Joshua 24:14–15
“We make our choices and then our choices make us. Our everyday choices reveal what we really desire. The essence of sin is pride. The heart of sin is independence and the core of sin is demanding my own way instead of God’s.” —Pat Singleterry
“That to which your heart clings is your god.” —Martin Luther
“Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” —Matthew 22:37–38
“Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.” —Abba Poemen