The Gospel of Matthew: Gotta’ Serve Somebody.

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.” (Matthew 6:24 (ESV)

The gospel song Gotta Serve Somebody was written by Bob Dylan and appears on The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan tribute album. It was one of several compositions written by Dylan from 1979-1981. The song’s chorus is as follows.

But you’re going to have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re going to have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re going to have to serve somebody.

Dylan lyrics echo Jesus Christ’s teaching in His Sermon On The Mount that is contained in today’s text. Jesus emphatically stated that “No one can serve two masters.”

The phrase No one (οὐδείς; oudeis) is a universal negative statement. It refers to a particular class of people. In this case, everybody. No one can (δύναμαι; dynamai) means that no one is able, or has the ability, to do something. What is it that no one can do?

No one can serve two masters. The word master (κύριος; kyrios) refers to a lord, owner or ruler. It means an individual who owns an estate and the slaves who work the estate. There is no feasible way possible for a slave belonging to one owner to serve another owner. It cannot happen.

Jesus explained that in seeking to serve and please two masters that several results are bound to occur. First, the slave will either love the one or hate the other. Second, the slave will be devoted (ἀντέχω; antecho) or cling to one and despise (καταφρονέω; kataphroneo) or look down on and scorn the other.

Jesus then brought the doctrine to a particular application; given the historical context of His audience, which included the Pharisees. It is impossible to serve and be loyal to the Lord while at the same time seeking to serve and be loyal to someone, or something else. In this particular context, the other object of servitude was money.

“His (Jesus’) point is that we must serve the Father alone, Christ tells us we “cannot serve God and money” (v. 24). If we try to follow both, we can do justice to neither. In fact, if we try to serve both, we are not serving God at all,” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.   

Are you conflicted in trying to serve two masters? How long have you tried? Resolve today, and in the days to come, to completely commit to serve the Lord preeminently. When doing so, everything else in life is in its proper place and priority.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!   

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