It’s Only Logical
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
One of the many gifts bestowed upon us as humans is a ‘Logic 101’ type of reasoning. It simply states, “if A, then not B”. It is this human reality that we realize when making choices. The choice we make gives us one thing but at the cost of excluding the other. This is the principle of ‘opportunity costs’ spoken of by economists. We cannot be in two places at once, we cannot be asleep and awake simultaneously, and we cannot spend the same dollar in two different stores. It is simple reality.
Accepting then that so many things in life fall into an “if A, then not B” material reality, what are we to make of the all-too-common practice of claiming to hold two opposing values in our hearts? In the world of ‘stuff’ and the world of ‘time’, we agree that exclusivity is an inexorable principle, and yet we are all-too-willing to say that, in our hearts – that is in the world of ours soul – “if A, then also B”. It is as if that, while we know we cannot “have our cake and eat it too” in our physical world, that somehow we should be able to both have and have eaten our cake – that is, be illogical – in our hearts.
The Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot hold that our Lord God and Saviour is our master whilst simultaneously also serving the material triumvirate of wealth, power, and status. Logically, this makes sense. For, if we count faith in God and love of God as enacting our service to God, it precludes us from also believing in serving worldly ends. Even though we are of this world, and even though we may seek wealth, power, and status in the world, we still must not serve the worldly things that inherently draw us away from our personal relationship with the King of kings.
It is a subtle thing, to live in the world as we do, a world of temptations and evil, and to not succumb to serving mammon. For we do need to earn our living, seek the power to do good where we can, and keep enough standing among our fellow humans to contribute positively to others. And indeed, whilst Christ’s gift to us is the opportunity for forgiveness of our sins and eternal life, God has also given us a bountiful world rich with beauty to enjoy. God’s love for us doesn’t demand self-mortification, and doesn’t condemn us to joyless denial of our physical happiness on earth. Indeed, it would not be love if He didn’t give us joyfulness.
Therefore, it isn’t a question of denying the world of things and of others, but is only a question of what our heart serves. What our heart desires in the quiet of the night. We can still live well, healthily, with material joy, and still not serve the world.
But there is more. Indeed, what serving God allows us is that we will feel joy with or without wealth, power, or status. We do not need to despise and hate the fact of these things, but we do need to despise and hate the service to these things. And, by the same token, we need to know in our hearts that, no matter how we gain our living, what power we accrue or lose, or what our fellow citizens may think of us, we serve only God. It’s only logical…