Q&A: Can we serve two masters at all?

“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

Question: The Bible says a slave can`t serve two masters. Does it mean that we can`t serve god by holding business?

Answer: Jesus says you can’t serve two masters and in effect is saying that God should be your only master. Does this mean it is wrong to be involved in business where you may have a boss or supervisor who is over you? I don’t think so. Or does it mean that you can’t work in the world and make an effort to earn money? I don’t think so.

            First, I don’t believe this verse prohibits having any form of earthly master. We can see in other parts of the Bible where people are in fact commanded to obey their earthly masters (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22; 1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:9). If it doesn’t mean you can’t have any masters, what does it mean? I think the key is in Colossians 4:1 where Paul says, “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” The servant and the master here both serve the same great Master who is God. We can only have one ultimate Master from whom we receive our instruction and always aim to please. God may put us in a position where we are under earthly masters and supervisors, but even in seeking to please and serve these masters we are truly seeking to please the one great Master, the Lord. (See also 1 Tim. 6:2).

            Secondly, I don’t believe Matthew 6:24 prohibits any dealings with money or pursuit of profit. The Bible explicitly commands that people ought to work in order to receive its benefits and ought to “earn their own living” (1 Thes. 3:10-12). The scriptures also say that if you don’t put forth the necessary effort to support your relatives and household than you have “denied the faith” (1 Tim. 5:8).

            What the Bible most frequently warns us of is not earning money or working for a business. It warns us not to fall in love with money and make it our ultimate pursuit. This is the meaning of Matthew 6:24. We see this confirmed in 1 Timothy 6:10 where we read that the “love of money is a root of all kinds of evils”. Money itself isn’t evil, only turning it into a god.

Q&A: Can we serve two masters at all?