“No one has the power to serve two Lords; for either the one he will hate and the other he will love or he will hold firmly to one and hold the other in contempt. You are not able to serve God and Mammon.”
Recently I read an article that cited a statement that Thomas Sowell made in The Washington Times. Sowell said that “journalists cannot serve two masters: the complete truth and a political agenda.” The criticism that he was making is that journalism seems to have departed from the task reporting the news in as unbiased way as possible and moved to telling you what you should think about events considered newsworthy. Thus, we have the development of both liberal and conservative news reporting. Sowell’s point is that truth is sacrificed on the altar of a political agenda.
As I was reflecting on this, I realized how often we fall into this trap. As teachers in school, we have been called to educate young minds a particular subject but at the same time, standardized testing, athletics, extra-curricular events, etc… compete with our class time. We need to balance what we do with the whole of the program, but at the same time, teaching is compromised in the process. Pastors also fall into this trap. We have been called to preach and proclaim the Truth, teaching believers to obey all that Christ taught. At the same time, if one does so in such a way that drives everyone out of the church, then you no longer have a platform for speaking Truth into people’s lives. That does not mean that Truth is to be compromised, but it is important how one presents the Truth. Sadly, too many pastors have chosen another route to go, seeking to build their congregation by entertaining people rather than speaking what is True. In addition, in many places, the government severely restricts what can be said from the pulpit and even in America, certain restrictions are in place if a church wishes to maintain its tax-exempt status. So, when these restrictions would cause one to compromise or otherwise ignore the Truth, what does one do? Who does one serve? My hopes is that it is God’s Truth and not the government, but all too often, it is the other way around.
In our personal lives, we fall prey to this as well. When we are around other people that might get offended if we speak about our faith, what do we do? In our place of employment, is your speech and behavior consistent with the Bible even if your boss asks you to cut corners? Do you fear the criticism of man or of God? The Greek word Mammon is usually associated with money in our modern culture, but it can also refer to worldly things on every level. So, do we pursue the truth or do we pursue someone’s agenda? There are certainly lots of agendas in the church to choose from, but notice Jesus’ warning, if we pursue the agenda of men over God’s Truth, we will end up loving the agenda and despising God. Man cannot serve both God and Mammon.