How To Avoid A Double Standard


JESUS CHRIST used His peerless capacity to draw listeners attention with a simple story illustrating a sublime truth. He used eyesight to dramatize the importance of having undivided loyalty.

Immediately He moved to use one of the many contenders for our loyalty as an illustration of all. Following the story of what we are willing to see is the story of who we are willing to serve.

Don’t let Satan decoy you into thinking this is a message on giving money. It isn’t. That is peripheral. It is a message on who you are going to serve. More specifically, it is a message on who or what is your God.

Jesus Christ in simple clear terms said, “NO man can serve two masters…” Though often tried it simply cannot be done. The warfare between contending masters is waged daily on the battlefield of human hearts. The conflict is between MATERIALISM and NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY.

So completely has materialism saturated our outlook on life that we can proceed only a short way on the road to Christian maturity until this subtle cancer has to be diagnosed and removed. Materialism is malignant. The desire for the things money can buy and the earthly security money can create has always been a challenge to Christian faith. It has never been as systematically injected into the human soul as presently.

Christ knew of the human struggle with materialism.

In the gospels He told 38 parables. Out of the 38, 16 concerned how to handle our money.

Christ said more about money and possessions that He did about heaven and hell combined.

In the gospels 1 out of 10 verses deals with money or possessions. That is a total of 288 verses in the four gospels.

In the Bible there are more than 500 references to prayer and less than 500 references to faith. There are over 2,000 references to money and possessions.

I. CONSIDER THE CANDOR “No man can serve two masters…”

A slave was a living tool. A master had life-and-death control over a slave. To be a “slave” meant for a master to be constantly, entirely, 100% devoted to obedience to that one master. It would be utterly impossible to have two masters. Slavery involved:

A. The slave had no rights of his own – there was single ownership.

B. The slave had no time of his own – full time service is a trait. Emancipation Proclamation.


When Jesus became my Master I read everything He said and studied about all that He did. I memorized His words and dreamed of His deeds. It was as though I was living with the Man = and you know = I was.

“Mammon” is a Chaldean name for the money-god. In Hebrew mammon (Mamon) is a word for material possessions. In His use of the term Jesus is representing material goods as a rival god, a power that seeks to dominate us. Jesus knew “…the love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6: 10a). It is not money that is the root, but the love of it. One may have little or no money and love it to the point it is a god.

In making this statement initially Jesus was addressing thing-oriented, greedy, avaricious, covetous, manipulative religious leaders who were grasping for more things.

In telling the greedy young ruler to “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12: 33) He was telling him to get rid of his false god.

When Jesus dined with Zacchaeus and the “wee little man” got his life right with the Lord he volunteered to get rid of his false god and declared: “Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will repay back four times the amount” (Luke 19: 8).

It is not always used in an evil sense. Its ancient use means “to entrust.” It was a banking term. Gradually the word use changed from “that which is entrusted to another” TO “That in which one puts trust.” The change of word usage reveals a change in the hearts of people. A person’s god is the power in which he trusts. We become slaves to our causes.

It needs to be made perfectly clear that one can’t serve God and mammon, but you can serve God with mammon. Many do.

In His earthly ministry Jesus was supported financially by wealthy women who enabled Him to give to the poor. He dined with the wealthy Zacchaeus. He attended the lavish wedding in Cana.

Our society’s preoccupation with self inclines persons to be predisposed to choose mammon. Our cultures self-centeredness, our narcissism, is clearly forbidden in Scripture.

God’s purpose in creating us initially and redeeming us was for fellowship with us. He created us for worship. If we worship anything other than God, we engage in idolatry and fail to glorify Him.

Many husbands and some wives overly committed to their career ambitions are not only putting material matters ahead of God but also ahead of the family. The marriage suffers and children are the losers.

In choosing to serve the Lord we need to go back to the original meaning of the word which was “to entrust.”

Don’t tune me out until the following thought is completed. Christianity is the most materialistic religion in the world. It takes creation seriously. Christianity does not divorce itself from the material world, but realizes a responsibility to be a steward of it. New Testament stewardship means we belong completely to the Lord and as such we are managers of His possessions He puts in our care.

Our regular question should be: “What does the Master want me to do with this possession or opportunity?”

Christians are materialistic in the sense they realize everything, including themselves, belongs to the Lord. As a result we live to please our Lord in managing His material universe and all that is in it.

It is impossible to be without a master. Everyone has one. The master is trusted.

“Trust, faith, belief, and hope,” we still toss these words around like a child does “eeny, meeny, miney, mo” but the splendor has gone out of them. This is true because we really trust in assembly lines, have faith in insurance policies, believe in mass production and place our hope in big government. None of these or all of them combined don’t bring fulfillment.

At the end of World War II the death of many adults left a lot of orphans. At the end of the war the allies provided camps for these children in which they were fed and cared for. Though well cared for the children couldn’t sleep. Even eating three meals a day they would lie awake at night. Psychologists studied why they could not sleep.

They proposed a solution. Every night when the children went to bed someone went down the row of beds and put a piece of bread in the hand of each child. The last thing they felt at night was the bread in their little hands. Soon they were sleeping all night. Experience had taught them there was no hope for tomorrow. Though they ate well each day they were apprehensive about tomorrow. Now they could sleep because their anxiety had been overcome by the bread in their hand as they went to bed. They were not afraid of the future.

Do you know God has given us the equivalent of that piece of bread? His bread in our hand is this: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

We don’t need to unduly stockpile for the future. God has the assets to provide for His children. Christ reminds us: “Don’t you know that your heavenly Father feeds the birds, and are you not much better than they?” (Matthew 6: 26).

If He feeds the birds He will surely feed His own children.

Mammon is a poor god for it makes for itself wings and flies away. It is a gilded toy that won’t work.

We CAN choose. Christ always defined the alternatives: sheep or goats; figs or thistles; right or wrong; the Father or the world; God or mammon.
We MUST choose. Nature requires it. One can’t be both selfish and generous. You can’t travel in two directions at once. Proverb: “A man can’t carry two melons in one hand at a time. You can’t sail under two flags.

III. CONSIDER THE CONCLUSION “Hate one and love the other.”
Those who love the world, hate Christ. Those who love Christ hate the world.

When traveling to a foreign country it is wise to exchange U.S. currency for the currency of the country to which you are traveling. That is no less true in the spiritual realm. In our present life our currency is dollars. In the Kingdom of Heaven it is souls. By a form of divine alchemy our dollars are converted into souls. The exchange must be made before leaving this country, however.

Let’s watch two couples about to embark on their heavenly journey. They are approaching the end of their pilgrimage called life.

The first couple pauses on the brink of a dark foreboding chasm which an angel tells them is the grave. Reassuringly the angel tells them they need not be afraid of that dark shadowy place. Confirmation is given they will pass through it safely. “Look beyond it,” the angel appeals, “look on the other side.”
In amazement they look to see shimmering through the mists in the distance the beautiful “City of God.”
“It’s so beautiful,” the woman joyously exclaims, “so very beautiful!”
Turning to her husband she says, “Let’s go at once.”
“Just a moment,” said the guide, “first you must put down on this side all those material things you are carrying in your hands. Just throw them on the trash pile of useless things. The litter is what others before you have left.”
The couple froze and said nothing.
Sternly the angel said, “Nothing but yourself can go beyond the grave. Put it down.”
“But, you don’t understand,” the man appealed. “These are our valuables. We have spent a life time saving for them. They represent a lifetime of hard work, thrift, and shrewd business investments.”
“They won’t be needed. Such possessions are absolutely of no value in the ‘City of God.’ The very streets are paved with gold.”
Slowly the man released his grip and dropped his all on the scrap heap.
Seeing this his wife clung more closely to her treasures. The angel pointed to a box she held tenaciously.
Pleadingly she said, “These are my special treasures that made me the envy of friends.”
“In the presence of the King of King such tawdry trinkets aren’t allowed. You have to be attired in white robes of righteousness.”
Hesitantly she tossed it down but clutched a velvet jewel case. Patiently the angel held out his hand. Slowly she opened the case displaying a gorgeous strand of pearls.
“These are priceless pearls. They are the real kind, the ones from the sea. Everyone is a perfect spherical and has a deep luster. The necklace has great sentimental value. I turned down a very generous offer from a jeweler for them. To me they are priceless.”
“A mere bauble!” the celestial host said. “Don’t you know the gates of the City of God are each one pearl. The rings on your fingers must go also.”
“These are my diamond and emerald rings. These flawless stones are priceless.”
“Infinitesimal! Such stones are used for building purposes in the New Jerusalem. Look, the mist is lifting. It’s time to go.”
Again they looked and saw the city “having the glory of God and her light was like a stone most precious…and the foundations of the wall were garnished with all manner of precious stones” — emeralds, sapphires, amethysts.

Empty handed the couple went down into the chasm and passed through the gates beyond. They were saved “as if by fire.” That which represented their treasures were left on the earthly scrap heap. Then it became clear what the writer of the Revelation (18:17) meant when he wrote, “For in one hour so great riches is come to naught.”

Back on earth another couple approached the end of their pilgrimage. They came with no reluctance and a much lighter load. With no sign of regret they placed their possessions on earth’s scrap heap. Expectantly their eyes were turned toward the City of God.

The gates of the Holy City swung open and joy-bells rang. Amazed and joyfully the couple stood amid a crowd waiting to greet them. “Welcome Home,” they shouted. Many of them the couple had never seen. One of these strangers said, “Next to our beloved Savior you are my best friends.”
“How can this be since we have never seen many of you before?”
One answered for many. “We were in far-distant heathen lands, but messengers came to bring us the good news of salvation and that is why we are here. Since we arrived God has looked over His account books and told us you were responsible for those messengers. Since it was announced this morning that you were coming this crowd that you made it possible to hear the good news has been gathering to welcome you and say thanks.”
Excitedly they had a momentary flashback to times down on earth when after praying it over they had given money they could have used on themselves to support missionaries and the cause of Christ in their local church.
Just then, Oh, then the dear Savior’s face shone upon them and He spoke, “Well done, good and faithful servants, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you rulers over many things.”
Hear now the Savior speak to you: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6: 19, 20).