“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”Luke 16:13-15 NIV
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
This passage follows the Parable of the Shrewd Manager. That parable is about using worldly wealth wisely. But there is a danger with material wealth. It could easily become our master.
And Jesus warns us here that we can only have one master. We cannot serve both money and God. If we make our life choices based on maximizing material prosperity and comfort, then money has become our master. But if we make our decisions based on what God would want us to do, then he is our master.
We can make money our master without even realizing it. The Pharisees were among the most religious people of Jesus’ day. But Luke tells us that they loved money. They had convinced themselves that they were serving God. But in reality, money had become their master. They had become more concerned with status and prosperity than they had the things of God. Their piety and reverence for God were only skin deep. Their heart did not belong to God.
Jesus’ closing statement is one we need to pay careful attention to. “What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” This world’s value system is not God’s. The world looks to satisfy physical appetites, outward appearances, and the gaining of wisdom (Gen. 3:6). God wants us to live a life of love (Matt. 22:37-40), committed to him.
Don’t be like the Pharisees, who deceived themselves into believing that they could serve God while also valuing the things of this world. You cannot serve two masters. Choose to serve God rather than the world.