St. Paul's Lutheran Church

Close this search box.

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. – Matthew 6:24

The word “serve” is the most important word in this passage. No one should say that it is sinful to have money and possessions, family, a house, and a career. But we must accept that it is sinful to allow money and possessions, family, a house, or a career control us. We must not serve these things, but these things must serve us, and we must be masters over them.

It is sometimes said of generous people that they are “good with their money.” The implication here is that they aren’t trapped to their finances, but they have control of their money and are able to use it to help others without a second thought. A greedy person totally ignores God’s Word and everything God wants or says, would much rather withhold his money and possessions, refuse to help or support his church financially, and would be content seeing his church and his friends suffer and fall than spare a penny to help. This kind of greed is horribly childish, insensitive, devilish, and worthy of God’s eternal condemnation. Such people are fully enslaved to money and possessions and cannot put it to any good use; they can hardly enjoy any of it themselves! Such people ignore God’s eternal riches for the immediate love for things and money. They use what they have to gain more, to pursue selfish goals and to manipulate and control others, putting off God’s Word and commands, mocking God’s holy name, and claiming ownership of things not their own. They gather and store and hoard what they can without sparing even a penny for the work of God, and the more and more greed rules them, the further and further away they move from God and His Word. They use the Lord’s name in vain to justify their greed and abuse of God’s gifts, and when all is said and done, they become enemies of God and destined for eternal destruction.

This is what Christ means when He says, “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” In other words, the love of money makes people enemies of God. And what we must learn quickly and definitively is that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot love our money and use it to please ourselves only, and love God at the same time. We cannot serve wealth and accumulation while at the same time claim to desire God. For as Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). We pursue what we love, we fight for what we love, we talk about what we love, and we will die clinging to what we love. As St. Augustine said, “Whatever I love is my god.”

Gracious Lord, forgive me of my sins of greed and the love of money, and teach me by Your Word to use all that I have for the good of Your church and for the good of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.