No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt. 6:24)
There is no compromise in our Lord’s statement, and that’s because love and devotion are to be directed solely upon Him and His purpose, and nothing competes with that devotion like mammon does.
However, we typically think of a love of mammon in terms of greed, but the examples which follow verse 24 (vv. 25–30) are not isolated to those desirous of wealth. They address those who worry about basic needs such as food and clothing. Our Lord concludes by saying:
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matt. 6:31–32)
Could then the love of mammon include a basic concern over our material needs? The wealthy trust in their riches, but is that altogether different than someone worried about where their daily provisions will come from? Both represent a distrust of God and a lack of reliance upon Him.
In God We Trust?
The apostle Paul gives this admonishment to the rich:
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Tim. 6:17)
It’s ironic that the oft-debated phrase, “In God We Trust,” is printed on U. S. paper “mammon” while most Christians argue to keep it there in order to fortify the position that America is a Christian nation. If America truly does trust in God, then that’s a good thing, but anyone with a keen perception of the obvious can see the average person trusts more in mammon than the Lord.
Again, this includes those who are worried about their material needs because our Lord commanded us to “take no thought” concerning them because to do so is to act like the Gentiles, i.e., those who have no covenant with God.
What then should be our concern? What should occupy our deepest emotions? Our Lord makes it clear where our priorities must lie:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)
Consider the Ravens
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than fowls? (Luke 12:24)
Shall we consider the ravens? Our Lord suggests we do, but what is the lesson here? Firstly, it’s that God provides for the ravens, and yet they are incomparable to His love for His children. Therefore, how much more will God provide for us?
Secondly, we must note that the ravens are not engaged in sowing or reaping, nor do they have a storehouse or barn to keep their harvest. Why is this so? It’s because the ravens have a purpose to fulfill. They have a “kingdom,” if you will—a “natural” one—that they must serve first.
Naturalists refer to this as the cycle of nature, but as Christians, we know that all of creation is determined by the providential rule of God, as Section 1 of the fifth chapter of the Westminster Confession states:
God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
However, the ravens do have a purpose to fulfill within their realm, and if the ravens were occupied with sowing, reaping, and storing up, then they could not fulfill the purpose God has for them in creation. Therefore, they must be given to God’s purposes with no room made for being concerned about material needs. God provides for them as they are about His business.
The Manifestation of the Sons of God
Like the ravens, we must be given to God’s purpose, and His purpose is His Kingdom and His righteousness. He promises that if we make His Kingdom first, then all the other things we’re concerned about will be given to us. We are of much greater value than the ravens just as the purpose we serve is much greater. In fact, the ravens—and all of creation—are awaiting the fully matured sons of God to take their place. They are awaiting for us to make the Kingdom first:
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:19)
Rushdoony notes that word used for manifestation is apokalupsis, which means an uncovering or revealing. While a fallen creation fulfills its purpose, it awaits the highest creation to fulfill theirs. Rushdoony explains:
The liberation of all creation awaits the apocalypse of man, man’s assumption of his dominion mandate, “Because the creature (or, creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (v. 21) … The natural condition of creation as God made it is very good (Gen. 1:31). Its present fallen estate is an unnatural one because sin and death prevail. Man, by pushing back the realm of sin, increases the realm of life.
Who Is Our Master, and What Mission Do We Serve?
We cannot serve two masters—God and mammon—so we must forsake the god of mammon by taking less thought for our material needs and more thought about the needs of the Kingdom of God. After all, it’s God’s good pleasure to give it to us, but do we truly want it?
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
What then should our reaction be? It certainly should not be to worry about our daily provision. In fact, it should be the opposite. Our response to God’s offer of the Kingdom should drive us to remove all things that occupy our devotion and concern:
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourself bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:33–34)
Granted, we are not living in the time of the disciples facing the soon-coming destruction of Israel, but the principle remains the same. We are to be as occupied with the purposes of the Kingdom as much as they were, otherwise our heart’s treasure lies elsewhere.
So, there’s no need to sell all that you have, but you can serve the Kingdom by supporting the Chalcedon Foundation—a ministry that’s devoted to your deepest held beliefs about the Kingdom. Since 1965, we’ve served the single mission of advancing the Kingdom of God through Christian education, we continue to do so as the Lord allows us. We are a long-term ministry serving a long-term mission.
Would you join us? We desperately need your help to fulfill this mission, and as in all things, the laborers are few. Despite that, God continues to provide, and our hope is that His continued provision is due to the fact that we continue to strive to make His Kingdom first. We also hope our commitment to that mission is inspiring to you as well.
Please take a few moments today to prayerfully consider supporting Chalcedon. Click here for more information.
 R. J. Rushdoony, Romans & Galatians (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1997), p. 137.
- Chalcedon Editorial