3rd Sunday After Pentecost 2009 Gospel: Matthew 6:22-33
The Lord Jesus said: “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)
Though the Lord Jesus clearly taught us that we cannot love “God and….”, many have tried. God and money. God and pleasure. God and self. God and political power. God and selfishness. God and ego. God and self indulgence. God and greed. God and gaud. This of course is not the same as saying we cannot serve God through success, or wealth, or prosperity, or politics. We are to love God first and above all and to pursue His Kingdom and His righteousness. We can use the things God bestows on us for His glory. To put it in another way, “Money is a good servant, but a bad master” (attributed to Francis Bacon in the 17th Century).
Life is full of choices, and the choices we make matter. Americans love prosperity, God and money.
Bishop Nikolai Velimirović in commenting on the words of our Lord from Matthew 6:24, wrote about the impossibility of loving “God and….”
Can two wheels of a wagon move forward and two backward? Can a man look eastwards with one eye and westwards with the other? (Abba Isaiah says: “As on eye cannot look heavenwards and the other earthwards, so the mind cannot combine cares for the things of heaven with those of the earth.”) Or can one foot walk to the right, and the other the left? They cannot. It is therefore also impossible to go to meet God and to remain in the world’s embrace. A man cannot serve God and sin, for he will either hate God and love sin, or vice versa: love God and hate sin. In order to emphasize this truth the more clearly, the Lord repeats it in other words: “or else he will hold to the one and despise the other”. If a man holds to God, he cannot also hold to God’s enemy. And love for this world is hatred for God. God seeks our whole heart, and to this end He offers us all His help and all His gifts. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (II Chronicles 16:9): perfect, whole, pure; emptied of faith in the world, and filled with faith, hope and love for God the living and immortal.