No-one can serve two masters

‘No-one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money!’ Luke 16:13

I read this verse today, and it reminded me of something which happened three years ago.

I was in an unusual position at the time. For nearly ten years we had been working long hours on a very low salary, following our calling to serve in a missional role for a Christian charity. For various reasons we had just resigned from our jobs. The biggest reason was that we felt God had told us to go. For the first time in my life I was facing unemployment.

We decided to take a few weeks of sabbatical, after which I would look for work. The purpose of the sabbatical was two fold. Firstly, I was exhausted. I needed a break. But of course the biggest reason for taking a sabbatical was to wait on God to discern what we should be doing next.

Then, something unexpected happened. Out of the blue, a good friend of mine, who I hadn’t really spoken to for ten years, contacted me and offered me some work as a project manager in central London. The offer was very well paid. I would earn as much in a day as I had been earning in a month for most of the last ten years. It was an attractive offer and I very seriously considered taking it. It would solve all of our financial challenges and set us up comfortably for retirement. It was a very tempting offer. There was a condition – I needed to start immediately.

In one sense – from a financial perspective – it was a no-brainer. Take the job. Take the money.

But of course there was another perspective. The purpose of my sabbatical was to seek God’s will for my life. It was finding out how I should be serving Him. Was it right to set aside that opportunity to rest before God, by diving straight in and taking a well paid job.

I was at a serious crossroads. I had to make a decision on which path to take. Follow the money, or trust God for the next step.

I didn’t take the job. I started my sabbatical.

Within a few days, I found myself drawn to and focussing on this verse.

‘Keep your lives free from the love of money. Be content with what you have got.’ (Hebrews 13:5)

Here’s the thing. If you’re going to ask God about your future, you need to listen to what He’s saying to you and take account of it. This verse seemed to affirm my decision to reject the job offer.

So here we are, three years on from that crossroads. We’re doing ok. We’re back doing relatively low paid charity jobs, earning as much in a month as I could have earned in a couple of days if I’d followed the money. But we do have a real sense of leading to the roles which we are now doing. Looking back, it seems to me that the one who promised never to leave us or forsake us has been looking after us.

Reading this verse this morning reminded me that three years ago I had been standing at that crossroads. It reminded me of the decision we made, and made me realise how far we have come. And that recollection made me realise the truth of this verse.

‘No-one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money!’ Luke 16:31

Richard Jackson is the former Executive Director of Christian charity, Family Foundations Trust. He is exploring what it means to live as a contemplative evangelical.

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