In the entire chapter of Luke 16 we find Jesus speaking directly to the issue of money and possessions. Knowing the Pharisees put a high value on their personal wealth (v. 14-15), Jesus speaks directly to the implications this attitude will have on their eternity. We shouldn’t simply read this passage as just a warning to the Pharisees. We too have been prone to struggle in the area of money. We too are in need of a reminder that we can’t serve two masters.
Luke 16:13 (NLT) 13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in this situation, but I’ve had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to work at a business owned by a husband and wife. Listen, I’m not saying that I loved one more than the other, or that I was devoted to one more than the other, but I am saying, It’s really hard to serve both! Especially if their opinions are different.
Such is the case of what Jesus is communicating here, God and money are diametrically opposed and their opinions are different. We can choose to serve money, but when we do that we’re choosing to serve ourselves and don’t leave room for God.
The word “money” appears in the Bible 113 times, but what’s interesting here is that Jesus isn’t using the word money. He’s actually using the word “mammon (KJV),” and to take that a step further, this is only thing Jesus said you can’t serve both. We don’t have this anywhere else in the entire bible.
What is mammon? It’s obviously important, because Jesus said it’s the only thing you can’t serve at the same time as God. Mammon is an Aramaic word that simply means “riches, money, possessions, and property.” The Greek translates it to mamōnas. The biblical scholar Joseph Henry Thayer says mammon is a term for, “the treasure a person trusts in.”
The hard question we’re faced with today is who do we trust? Do we trust God or do we trust mammon. Both can’t be served, but one can be trusted over the other. Depending on how you answer that question will reveal the content of your heart.
Since we’re talking about trust, it’s important that we see that God is asking the same question of himself, who can He trust?
Luke 16:10 (NLT) 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
Mammon can’t be trusted! It constantly makes empty promises.
- Security… If you had more money, you’ll be secure
- Identity… If you had more money, people will listen to you
- Freedom… If you had more money, you could go where you want, do what you want, whenever you want.
- Happiness… If you had more money you’d be happy, you’d have a good marriage, and people will respect you
Only God can promise security, identity, freedom, and happiness!
Here me today: Jesus never told anyone that the answer to his problems was more money. Ever! Could you imagine? The blind beggar cries out to Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me. Jesus reply’s, “you just need more money.”
God is asking you this morning to trust Him more than you trust your finances. Sure, you may have felt like your finances have gotten you out of situations before, but what if God’s asking you to trust in him enough to get you out of the same situations?