Why Can’t We Serve Two Masters?

Your true master is the one you love. God cannot coexist with a second master as He is the One and Only. If we have established another master in our life, such as ourselves, money, selfish ambition, etc., then it means we will end up hating God.

Balance with a heart and a roll of cash

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus states, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” From this passage of Scripture, Jesus is telling us that we cannot have two masters. A person will either be devoted to one of them or the other. No person can serve two masters. Why is this? Why can a Christian not serve two masters?

What Are These Two Masters in Matthew 6:24?

Jesus’ teaching on not being able to serve two masters is part of His Sermon on the Mount. When we look at the earlier passages of Scripture that come before Matthew 6:24, we are able to decipher why we cannot have two masters. Jesus tells us that where we store up treasures for ourselves is where our hearts will be.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:20-21).

In other words, where we put our hearts and invest our time is where our treasure will be. The attitude of the heart is what is in focus here. Our hearts cannot be completely devoted to God if our hearts are focused on money, alcohol, lust, passions, selfish desires, or anything else.

During our lives, there will always be a sinful desire that is trying to cause us to make it become the master of our lives. Anything becomes a master of our life when it consumes our entire being, time, and desires. We become a slave to whatever masters us (Romans 6:16). God needs to be the only Master in our lives because He loves us, cares for us, and wants the best for us.

The sinful desires we erect as masters of our lives will only cause our downfall. Jesus tells us we can only have one master because He is trying to help us. Jesus instructed His disciples that they must be willing to give up everything to follow Him.

He tells His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). All believers must deny themselves of all other masters and follow our true Master, God. Jesus Himself told His disciples to leave anything that had mastery over them.

He called Matthew to leave a life of dishonest tax collecting and greed (Matthew 9:9). Money had been the master of Matthew’s life, but he willingly gave it all up to follow Jesus. Matthew had decided that Jesus would be the master of His life, not money. Likewise, Jesus called Peter, John, and James to leave their old lives behind and to follow Him.

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:16-18).

This meant that Peter, John, and James had to leave their families, work, and previous lives behind. These three men gave up any prior masters in their life to follow Jesus. Jesus asks us to do the same thing today. He does not want us to teeter-totter on the fence. We cannot be halfway in or even 99% in. We have to make sure the only Master in our life is God.

Who Is the Only One?

The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:14; Nahum 1:7). The Lord tells us that He will not allow anybody or anything else to receive the praise due to His Name, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8).

God does not want us following after idols nor to declare them to be the master of our lives. Everything created, including human beings, was created by God and for His glory. God does not want to share us with the “masters” of the world. He will not share His glory, praise, and honor with anyone or anything else.

This is why we cannot serve two masters. We can only be fully devoted to one or the other. Sadly, many of us chose to become a slave to a master of the world. Jesus has given us freedom and He does not want us to be enslaved by the sins of the world.

Paul told the Church of Galatia as well as all believers today, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Whenever we place money, selfish ambition, or anything else as the master of our life, we are making this the “god” of our life.

It can be tempting to convince ourselves that it is okay to serve two masters, but it is not. No person can actually serve two masters. As Jesus tells us, we are either fully devoted to one or fully devoted to the other.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).

As Christians, we have to examine ourselves. We have to honestly ask ourselves, “What is the master of my life?” Is God truly the master of your life or is it something else?

Christians cannot continue to serve two masters because Jesus tells us we only truly love one master and hate the other (Matthew 6:24). In other words, your true master is the one you love. God cannot coexist with a second master as He is the One and Only. If we have established another master in our life, such as ourselves, money, fame, selfish ambition, alcohol, or anything else, then it means we will end up hating God.

However, if God is the true master of our lives, we will end up hating the sinful desires of the world. A person cannot serve two masters because one you will love and the other one you will grow to hate. The Lord wants to be the Master of your life.

Why Does This Matter?

If you place God as the Master of your life, you will have a better quality of life and you will be living in the peace of Jesus. If you choose to have someone or something else to be your master, you will grow bitter, angry, and hateful towards God. May we always follow Jesus and ensure He is the only Master in our life.

For further reading:

Did Paul Teach That 'Money Is the Root of All Evil'?

Does the Prosperity Gospel Seek God or Money?

What Does it Mean ‘Where Your Treasure Is There Your Heart Is Also’?

What Is the Meaning and Warning in the Parable of the Rich Fool?

What Does it Mean to Be a Disciple of Christ?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/FediushkinaElena

Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.