The Lord Jesus Christ is just as plain as He can be in His teaching declaring: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While mammon represents money in applying this passage, the other master besides God can be anyone or anything! In this post as the Lord leads, I write to remind myself and other men that He “ain’t playing” about His requirement that those that would follow Him be exclusively devoted to faithfully serving Him as Master of our lives contrary to what is seen in many churches today.
Contextually, the Lord’s principle of faithfulness to one Master comes near the end of His teaching targeting the issues of the cold hearted Pharisees and scribes that had mingled with the tax collectors and sinners drawn close to hear Him beginning in Luke 15. These religious men could not understand why Jesus representing God would be concerned about sinners and were purposely seeking for an opportunity to discredit Him. So, as He said He would, He taught them in parables about God’s love for sinners (Matthew 13:10-17). Then, directly to His disciples, but with the religious leaders still listening in the Lord begins to teach on stewardship in Luke 16.
In His parable of the unjust steward, the Lord rebukes the Pharisees and scribes in their failure as stewards while warning His disciples at the same time about the requirement of God that His stewards be completely faithful to Him (1 Corinthian 4:2). Every man beginning with his life, in his home and into God’s house has a stewardship responsibility He holds them accountable for (Matthew 12:36-37; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11). In their love of money (not to mention position, power and recognition among other selfish motives), Israel’s religious leaders were unjust as stewards before God their Master just as the man in the Lord’s parable was to his (Luke 16:1-2).
As in the parable, Israel’s religious leaders had mismanaged what God had entrusted to them due to having a greater devotion to money than to Him. Blinded by their devotion to money and hearts made hard through the deceit of sin intrinsic to manmade religion, they did not even have enough fear of God in them to try to do something about their failure, day of impending accountability with and certain judgment by God (Luke 16:3-9). The Lord further teaches that if a man will be faithful with a little to manage, he will also be in more; unjust in minor matters, also those great. Proven unfaithful, such a man disqualifies himself from bigger stewardship responsibilities (Luke 16:10-11).
Moreover, if a man is unfaithful in managing another man’s affairs, the Lord would know “who will give you what is your own” to manage (Luke 16:12, NKJV)? This brings us to the famous dilemma of the one who would serve two masters. No one can successfully serve two masters at once because again the Lord concludes, “either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While they may not have fully understood all of what the Lord was teaching up to this point, the religious leaders present got the message about the unjust steward and forthwith ridiculed Him (Luke 16:14).
Israel’s religious leaders hated, despised and persecuted the Lord Jesus because in contrast to them as unfaithful stewards, He was completely faithful! He was gathering sinners to Himself, preaching the Gospel to, teaching and serving them through mighty miracles because that was His stewardship assignment from God. And God made it known He was pleased with His stewardship to include His death on the cross (Luke 3:21-22; John 8:28-29, 11:38-44, 19:28-30, 20:11-18)! Now, that unfaithful religious stewards persecute the faithful is from the beginning (Genesis 4:1-8), why the Lord was persecuted and any of us too who will be faithful to our Master (2 Timothy 3:12). Indeed, for this reason I have been persecuted by those of manmade Christianity from my infancy in Christ!
As Joshua’s charge and the Lord’s sober instruction on being His authentic disciple have echoed down through the centuries, I heard them and made my choice to serve Him alone in the day of my wholehearted surrender (Joshua 24:14-15; Luke 9:18-26, 14:25-35).1 Since those days in 1979 until now, I have been repeatedly told in word and deed by leaders in churches divergent in geography, ethnicity and size that God’s will, way and Word does not apply in every situation. Also, religious traditions and activities are necessary to be in effect, an “opiate” to “the people.”2 Finally, I was warned not to challenge disobedient leadership or the wicked status quo or be considered what one dear Southern Baptist sister once playfully called me, but others consider true, “trouble.”
1 Read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
2 19th century Communist thinker, Karl Marx, wrote in an article: “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Biblical Christianity is far removed from such a notion being as it
is the salvation, eternal way, life and Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and every one of His genuine “born again” followers in relationship with Him (John 3:1-8, NKJV)!
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