If we had the chance to take complete control of our lives right now, how many of us would do it? We could have all the power in the universe at our command what would we do, maybe something like this?
In the Disney animated movie Aladdin, the antagonist Jafar wishes that the Genie would given him ultimate power. To become the most powerful being in the universe. He comes face to face with what it would mean to have unlimited power at his control.
In Mathew 6: 24 Jesus talks about serving two Masters and the reality that we can only serve one master. The story of Aladdin goes something like this: A ruthless advisor to the king wants to overthrow the monarchy. His plan is to use a magical lamp with a Genie that can grant three wishes. But in order to get the lamp he needs a special person, this person is Aladdin. But of course the advisor double crosses Aladdin and in return lose the lamp. Yet Aladdin figures out the secrets of the lamp and meets the Genie. The Genie helps Aladdin meet the princess, but soon after the advisor realizes what happens and steals back the lamp.
This story proves Jesus’ point that we can’t serve two masters. Aladdin and The Adviser couldn’t both command the Genie at the same time. The Genie could only listen and obey the orders of one master.
Would you turn with me to Matthew 6 and let’s take a look at in more depth, what it means to serve only one master.
As you’re turning in your Bibles, let’s understand where we find ourselves in the Book of Matthew. The Book of Matthew was primarily written with a Jewish audience in mind. In the first four chapters we see Jesus preparation for his earthly ministry. Matthew, the writer, draws a parallel between Jesus and another famous religious leader, Moses. Moses is the leader God chose to lead his people out of salavery in Egypt into the land of Canaan, where God would be active in their society. Part of this activity is the social and religious structure that God sets up. All this is embodied by the ten commandments. In chapters five through seven of Matthew, the writer gives us Jesus’ teachings on the ten commandments, but Jesus takes them from merely an outward compliance, to an inward heart change.
About half way through this teaching Jesus begins to compare and contrast. It’s here that we pick up our text in verse 19 of chapter 6.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “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.”
Jesus compares and contrasts three separate things here in our text. First, Jesus brings up treasures. He compares storing treasures on earth like: cars, money, houses, and other things. And storing treasures in heaven, which are our God centered acts. The treasures on earth can be destroyed, but storing treasure in heaven can’t be destroyed. Second, Jesus talks about the eye. There’s bad things that can go in, pornography, jealously, and there are good things, God’s word, uplifting books. And then finally there is the two masters. In the context Jesus is talking about God and Money. But the implications of the teachings go beyond that. Jesus is telling us a universal truth: Our loyalties can only lie with one Master.
Growing up my parents used to pay for private pitching lessons, because I loved to play baseball. From eight years old until right before I went off to college I went to these lessons every week. For most of my life coaches would respect those lessons and let me do what I was trained to do, that is, until I got into high school. My coach in high school, wanted me to pitch his way. Did he have any training in the area, no. Did it matter that I had more strikeouts, with less playing time than other pitchers, no. All that mattered was that he wanted me to do things his way. So guess what I did? I pitched the way I was taught for all those years and got into a lot of conflicts.
We can’t obey two masters, especially when they’re in conflict. I mean think about it, what does a master require? Absolute compliance from their servants. Now if a servant is obeying two masters, what happens to that absolute compliance? It’s just not there.
Now you might be thinking, I’ve heard this all before I need to be a servant that does what God wants. Actually I’m not saying that. Think about this, if you serve someone, does that make them the master of you? No. Did Jesus serve us, because we are his master? No. Servanthood is not the same as allowing someone to be a master over you.
Servants can serve anyone, to have a master means that we not only serve them, but they dictate our lives. That’s why our master can be things like our jobs, our money, our houses, our relationships. If we let them, those things can control our lives.
In the movie Avengers, there’s a part where the main antagonist, Loki, makes a speech. He comes down in the middle of a group of humans and says, “Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”
The reality in this scene from the avengers is true, we are made to kneel. In our world today, we’re told to have no master, yet Jesus says we should, but it needs to be the right master. By our very creation we long to have a master. But to live out our lives the way we were created our master has to be God. That means we allow him to dictate our lives, we let him control our actions.
It is in a right relationship with God as master, that we begin to understand the world around us. We begin to realize our full potential because God already knows it and wants to bring it to the forefront of our lives.
In Revelation 19:16 it says of Jesus, “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
What’s really interesting about this title that is given to Jesus, is that it isn’t saying that there are no other lords in the world. It’s not saying that there are no other kings. Instead it is saying that Jesus is the King of all kings and that he is the Lord or all lords. In turn, Jesus is the Master of all masters, we need to allow Jesus to take his rightful place in our lives, by giving up this idea that we are in control. That we are the master, because we’re not, the things that command our greatest attention have already become our master. We will kneel to something, it can be to the perishable things of this world or the everlasting God.
One will bring us pain and suffering, the other joy and everlasting life. What will you choose?