The Powerful Meaning Of Matthew 6:24 (why you can’t serve God and money)

“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

In Matthew chapters 5 – 7 Jesus delivers his most famous message, the sermon on the mount. There’s a lot of powerful truths in this section of Scripture. But one of the most applicable for us today comes from the meaning of Matthew 6:24. 

The reality is many of us try to serve God and money and the truth from this verse is one that we need to lean in on. As we look at the Matthew 6:24 meaning we are going to see there’s even more below the surface for us to apply today.

In this blog post we are going to look at the no man can serve two masters meaning and how it applies to our lives today. 

The Context Of Matthew 6:24

Throughout the sermon on the mount Jesus is teaching his followers how life really works. It is shocking, countercultural, counterintuitive, and different than what any other teacher or philosopher was saying. In short, Jesus is painting a picture of what a true disciple should look like.  

In Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus is talking about storing your treasures in heaven. He’s challenging his followers to look at what is eternal and not at what is temporary. 

Most people focus on what’s here and now, what’s right in front of us. But in this section of his sermon Jesus is challenging his followers to look through a different lens. The things of this earth will fade, will rust and won’t last. But our treasures in heaven will last for an eternity. 

This leads us to Matthew 6:24 which is a warning as to which master we will follow. 

The Meaning Of Matthew 6:24

To help us understand the meaning of Matthew 6:24 and how it applies to our life we are going to break it down into three sections.

No one can serve two masters meaning… 

First, what are the masters? You might have guessed, one is God. The other is “mammon,” or earthly possessions and wealth. 

It’s important to note, Jesus purposely uses the word “masters” here. They are not employers, they are masters. You can serve multiple employers, but when you are owned your master demands full-time service. Both demand single-minded devotion, anything less is to provide no true service at all.

We like to think we can serve two masters. But the reality is that is not possible, we must choose and Jesus tells us why with the next sentence. 

Either you will hate the one and love the other… 

The reality is both masters have competing directions for our life. You cannot serve both because they are heading in different directions, they are juxtaposed. 

Jesus is saying you must reject one to embrace the other. That’s what a master demands. 

You cannot serve both God and money meaning… 

Jesus makes his point abundantly clear. You cannot serve God and money. You must serve one and hate the other. The only option we get is which mast will we serve?

The principle of materialism is diametrically opposed to the kingdom of God. And though many have tried to force it in, it just won’t fit. You can serve God or money, but not both.

Is Money Evil? 

Some have taken this passage to claim that true Christians should avoid money all together, we should just sell all we have and give it to the poor. This is sneaky because it sounds righteous. But in reality it’s often just false piety.

Money and wealth aren’t the problem. Money is simply a tool. How we use it dictates whether it becomes a master or whether we master it. 

When we love money, worship wealth, and buy into the lies of materialism then it becomes destructive. This is what Jesus is warning against. Money itself isn’t evil, after all even Jesus used money. 

Paul echos a similar warning in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

The Bible warns of the love of money in many places and challenges us to place God first. Money can never give us what we hope. It’s an endless cycle of wanting more and more to satisfy our desires. The problem is our desires will never be fulfilled with money, it will only grow. 

That kind of life will only lead to destruction. Moths will destroy and thieves will steal. But when we place God as our master the true treasures of life can be found. 

Who Will You Serve? 

This passage forces us to examine our lives and ask ourselves, who’s our master? 

And really this isn’t just a choice of our master, but what outcome we want. Remember earlier in Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus is warning his audience to store up their treasure in heaven where it’s safe and not where it will rot and fade. 

The choice between these two masters is a choice of what treasure you want. What vision you want for your life. And what outcome you are hoping for. 

The meaning of Matthew 6:24 is a warning that if we choose to serve the master of money the outcome will not be good. Moths and vermin will destroy it and thieves will steal it. 

But the meaning of Matthew 6:24 is also an invitation. If we serve God and reject the allure of money then our treasure is secure. 

Who will you serve?

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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