::Articles:: - No Servant Can Serve Two Masters - ZAC POONEN


"No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other. Or else he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon" (Lk.16:13)

Everyone knows that we cannot serve both God and Satan. But very few know that we cannot serve both God and Mammon (money) either. Notice carefully the four things that Jesus said here:

(1) If you really love God, you will hate money.

(2) If you are really holding on to God, you will despise money.

(3) If you love money, it proves that you hate God.

(4) If you hold on to money, it proves that you despise God.

Most so-called "believers" don't realise it, but they actually hate God and despise Him, because they love money and material things so much. One believer may consider himself doctrinally purer than another. But if both of them love money, then they both hate God. The Pharisees had doctrinal purity (Matt.23:3a) and were religious, but they didn't love God. You cannot have a neutral attitude towards money, just like you cannot have a neutral attitude towards Satan. You have to either love Satan or hate him. In the same way, you have to either love money or hate it. You will either hold on to money or despise it.

God and Mammon are two opposites, like the two poles of a magnet. If you are attracted by one pole, you will be repelled by the other. How then shall we hate money? Is it by asceticism and strenuous discipline that we are to do so? Do we have to go and live in a monastery or a "Faith Home" to learn how to hate money? Jesus did not come to make us hermits or monks or pastors!! He Himself lived a normal life in this world, working as a carpenter for many years to earn His living and to support His mother and His younger brothers and sisters. He earned and used money just like everyone else. Yet He hated money and loved His Father.

An illustration will perhaps help us to understand how we are to hate money. Consider a young girl who is deeply in love with a young man and who feels that she cannot live without him. Then one day she meets another young man who is far more handsome and who appeals to her far more than the first man. Once she has been taken up with this new man, she never again wants to see the first man. How did she get rid of her love for that first man? By the expulsive power of a new affection. That is the way for us to be freed from the love of money too. When love for the Lord Jesus fills our hearts, there will be no place for our former love for money in our hearts. When light fills a room, the darkness flees at once. So we do not preach that you must hate money in order to love God. No. That is a negative message and will only produce Pharisees, who imagine that they hate money and that all other believers love it. We lift up Christ so that people are drawn to love Him with all their hearts. When they love the Lord with all their hearts, they will then automatically hate money. If someone still loves money, that would indicate that he does not love Jesus with all his heart.

It is not enough merely to say that we do not run after money or that we do not long for it. That is a weak and negative statement. Our confession must be positive that we actually hate money and despise it. If that is not true in our lives, it is far better to confess our lack, and to seek the Lord for deliverance. We must be ruthlessly honest with ourselves, if we are to be delivered from self-deception at this point. Does an increase of money excite us? Are we longing to make more and more money? If our answer is "Yes" to either of these questions, then it is clear that we love money and are serving Mammon.

Many believers are so foolish as to imagine that an increase of money is an indication of God's blessing upon their lives. Some believers even wish that God would help them one day to win a lottery!! Lotteries are one of Satan's means to lure people into the worship of Mammon. A man gets a million rupees by buying a one-rupee ticket. And the money he gets is the money of one million others who are disappointed. That is downright evil. The Bible says, "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction." (1 Tim.6:9).

Lot wanted to get rich and destroyed his family in the process. Balaam wanted to get rich and lost his calling as a prophet and went to hell. Gehazi wanted to get rich and not only missed the opportunity to be a prophet, but also brought leprosy upon himself and his children. Again and again we have seen tragic examples of believers who were progressing well, but who suddenly backslid, because they wanted to get rich and began to pursue after wealth beyond their needs. Satan lured such believers at first by giving them a little taste of the enjoyment that wealth could give them (just like drug-pushers give a little taste of drugs to young people). Thus Satan whetted their appetites for Mammon. Little by little he led them on, until they finally "got hooked on Mammon" and plunged themselves and their families into ruin and destruction. Lives that were meant to build the church, are now being wasted in the pursuit of money. Such believers have sold their birthright for a bowl of porridge! Think what regret will be theirs in eternity!

All sensible believers will therefore never pursue after wealth, just like they won't jump off from the 10th floor of a building. They know that either of these actions will destroy them. They realise that they can't ignore the warnings of Scripture and still expect God to protect them. One doesn't have to actually run after money to fall away. One can love money in one's heart and still fall away, for "the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it, have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang" (1 Tim.6:10). Just as a young man can love a girl in his heart without actually running after her, even so, one can love money secretly in one's heart, without actually running after it. That is enough to make a believer fall away. No-one can build the church who does not determine to love Jesus with all of his heart. We will know that we love the Lord with our whole hearts, when we begin to hate and despise money. How many are willing to make this the test of their love for the Lord? All our boasted "spirituality" is worth ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, if we still love money.

Jesus spoke of two aspects of our responsibility in relation to money when He said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." (Matt.22:21)

(1) Giving Caesar what belongs to him refers to being RIGHTEOUS in money matters.

(2) Giving God what belongs to Him refers to being FAITHFUL in the use of money.No Servant Can Serve Two Masters

Source: CFC -- Copyright by Zac Poonen