Jesus has said much in The Sermon on the Mount about how His disciples can thrive in His Kingdom. He has taught it is in our best interest to pursue His righteousness and rewards rather than the empty promises of the world. He emphasizes that serving God is a heart condition – not just an external to-do list.

Here Jesus emphasizes the binary nature of our most fundamental choices: who we serve. We like the idea of getting God’s reward. But we often think we can do that by making our devotional life merely one of the things we do. Perhaps we compartmentalize our Sunday self, keeping him a safe distance from our Friday night self. In doing this we seek to harvest the best of both worlds. Meanwhile we also maintain a Monday self; looking out for Number One in the dog-eat-dog business world.

Jesus is clear we can’t have it both ways. The rewards of Kingdom living are not available if we only pursue it during some segment of our lives. Kingdom living is being devoted to seeking God’s righteousness in a manner that is merciful toward others in all aspects of our lives.

We cannot truly serve God and material prosperity. If wealth is our master, we will be devoted to its insatiable demands. We will be consumed by the pursuit of the unachievable goal of “more”. We will seek and find the treasures of the world, which moth and rust will destroy.

If Jesus is our master, He must necessarily transform all other selves. Our work self must serve Him and His Kingdom. Our social self too. Each of these selves is a necessary participant in seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.

There may be two (or more) masters barking out commands, but the servant can only choose to follow one of them. The heart will follow the one it loves. Which master will we choose? The world promises everything and delivers nothing. Jesus asks us to lay our lives down for others and promises we gain all in return.

“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.”
– Matthew 6:24