I have been thinking about the passage where Jesus says “you cannot serve two masters”. We are prone to compartmentalize our lives.We think that we are able to keep parts of our life separate from others. We are often instructed to do this for a healthy life. We are told, “Don’t bring work home,” or “Don’t bring your personal problems into work. Be professional.” For things of this world those distinctions can work, and might be very helpful. Being present is an important lesson we need to learn. Ridding ourselves of distractions allows us to live in the moment.
“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.
This statement of not being able to serve two masters is used in the context of not being able to serve both God and money, but it applies across the board. Jesus being our master is a present reality in all situations, in all things. As he is our eternal master in the physical and spiritual, there is no point at which he stops being our master. In turn, there is no part of life that doesn’t fall under his purview.
That means when we are at work, Jesus is our master. When we are at church, Jesus is our master. When we are watching tv, Jesus is our master. When we are with friends, Jesus is our master. When we are shopping, Jesus is our master. Do you get the picture? We are not at any point in time without a master. When we turn to ourselves, money, or other people as our masters, that is rebellion.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
The question we are left with is, how do we live as though Jesus is our master at all times? We need to start with applying the teaching and life of Jesus in each situation. We are not to conform to the ways of the world, but live at all times under the authority of Jesus. That means the way we speak, do business, surf the internet, entertain ourselves, spend our time, spend our money is not to be dictated by the world, but by Jesus. The pursuit of the newest gadget, the best stuff money can buy, “best practices” in business are to be put through the grid of the gospel. Jesus must be our master in all of this.
I had a great conversation recently about the way people play sports as a product of the morals of a society. We see some athletes embellishing calls, flopping, grabbing at jerseys, deceptively playing the sport. Would Jesus instruct us to play this way? Shouldn’t the play of a believer point to who their master is? I realize the things I mentioned are very much a part of the game, but would Jesus do it?
I love hearing about how my Papa led as CEO of a corporate farm. He made decisions out of his conviction of scripture and not the practices of the other farms that were doing well. The farm, even during the harvest, would have no work done on Sundays. My Papa cared for the families of workers and invested in the character of employees as much as their work skills. Even though he was serving the board and shareholders, his master is Jesus.
Slavery to Christ is not contrary to success or profitability, but winning at all costs is contrary to the gospel. The ends do not justify the means in the Kingdom of God. There is no timeout from calling Jesus Lord.
We are supposed to serve those in authority over us as unto the Lord, realizing that our Lord is still our master. He is still the one we are serving with the earthly authority functioning as a steward of power.
We cannot turn off serving our master. Our pursuits are those of our master’s. I think our hatred of slavery can cause us to overlook the language used in the new testament. Phrases like “a slave to Christ” are looked at as a turn of phrase rather than a literal meaning. Can we really look at slavery to Christ as a positive thing ?
Don’t be fooled, your #bestlife is that of a slave to Christ. Why would being Jesus’ slave be a bad thing? We have come to hate slavery, But, if Jesus were responsible for our lives, and we surrendered our free will, would things be better or worse? Slavery to Christ is a choice we should gladly make. It is the invitation for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection to come die and thus live.
I think we need to recapture the meaning of slavery to Christ. We need to see every one of our decisions and actions as service to our master. We need to see the entirety of our spheres as places to make disciples. We need to see there is no beginning or end to the Lordship of Christ. The times we choose another master never go well. What better master could there be than Jesus?