“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 ESV)
These are words from Jesus. Let us heed them.
Sweet Wife and I are business owners. She’s mostly a silent partner, but she provides wise counsel and leadership. She’s there when the business needs her. I’m the one who gets up Monday through Friday and heads off to the office. That’s OK, of course. We have our roles. She could do what I do, but we have chosen for her role to be “stay at home mom” (and please don’t make us switch!).
I say all of that to say this. Though Sweet Wife and I are partners, I’m the one who usually “carries around the weight of the world” related to the business. I’m the one who will get there early or stay late or basically do whatever needs to be done to try to make things work. I’m the one who sees all of the results and all of the forecasts and all of the issues and, therefore, I’m usually the one who worries the most (or maybe I’m just a worrier and that’s all an excuse).
[To be clear, Sweet Wife has a ton of things she must juggle that cause her to deal with her own “weight of the world” issues and I’m not saying she’s blind to the struggles of “me.” She’s very caring and supportive.]
Because of my job, I wind up using my job as an excuse for a lot of stuff. I’m in a bad mood. Well, it’s the job. I’m under a lot of stress. Well, it’s the job. I’m having a great day. OK, just the job. Somebody quit. Look out, it’s the job. There’s a load of other stuff. Again, it’s the job.
From time to time (like now), I step back and wonder, “do I have a job or does the job have me?” And then I read the words above from Jesus and I wonder, “which master am I serving?” Am I serving the Master who knows that my family and I need something to eat and drink and something to wear or do I serve a master who is never satisfied and constantly wants more and more and more? Do I serve a Master who came to seek and save me and who came to give me an abundant life, or do I serve a man-made master who leads to death?
I know that I would say that I serve the one true God who made heaven and earth, but practically speaking I’m not sure that my time spent worrying proves me right.
I know that those around me have heard that we want to run our business ventures in a Christ honoring way, but I’m not sure they’ve seen me live that out so much.
This all troubles me very much. I can’t just cut and run. I can’t just sell everything and move to Alaska (ahhh Alaska!). My family is in the process of being educated (i.e. our kids are in school) and we have dozens of people that are counting on us for a jobs. And besides, when we settled in Alaska, I’m sure there would be another master trying to get my attention up there too. No, I think there’s a different way. I think there is a way to manage all of the goings on of life in a way that honors Jesus Christ first.
How does that happen? Well, that’s a good question and I don’t know if I have the exact answer. But I have some guesses…
I think, first, there is the matter of confession and repentance in my own life. I need to confess my sins to God and tell Him what He already knows — that I have served another master and that I’ve been entangled with the worries of this world in a way that is sinful against Him — and I need to ask for forgiveness and repentance.
Second, I need to practice a lifestyle of holiness. As each wave of trouble arrives, I need to practice righteousness. No, I’m talking about how the Pharisees rolled, I’m talking about how practicing it 1 John style.
Third, I need to continually look for things that need to be addressed. This part isn’t so easy, because who likes to hear bad things about themselves, right? But I can take baby steps in this area. I can deal with what I already know (see above) and I can look for areas where I’m struggling within myself or with others in this battle to serve just one Master.
Fourth, I can continually pray about this. Actually, this should cover all of the steps.
It is not always easy to hear the words of Jesus. He speaks the truth and His words cut to the heart of the matter. But it’s good that we can hear them. It’s good to have our heart quickened when we read His words. If not, it means that we are blind or deaf to Him and that’s not good. But now that I’ve heard them, He’s calling me (and us) to respond. How will we? How will I? How will you? Let’s consider the things He’s said seriously, pray to Him for guidance and pursue His glory.