St. Martin of Tours, Bishop

Reading Romans 16:3-9,16,22-27
Gospel Luke 16:9-15

"You cannot serve God and mammon."

This sentence of Jesus is sometimes falsely and simplistically interpreted to mean that you cannot have both God and money in your life. In other words, this false interpretation says that there’s a sort of competition in your life between God and money which is a zero-sum game. Or to use a picture metaphor: this false interpretation says that there’s a see-saw in your life: God and money are sitting at opposite ends of the see-saw. If one goes up, the other goes down. The holier you are, the less money you will have, and the more money you have, the less holy you must be. This interpretation of Jesus’ words is false.

Our spiritual well-being and our financial well-being are not in competition with each other. Rather, when Jesus plainly tells you that “You cannot serve both God and mammon”, the key is the word “serve”. “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” You can serve God, or you can serve mammon. But you cannot serve both.

The beautiful thing about serving God is that through this form of love, we become more like Him. After all, “God is love”, as St. John taught the first Christians. So in the very act of loving God, we become like Him: that is to say, we enter into His very way of life, His very way of being. This is as God wants, and in fact this is as each of you wants, in the deepest center of your heart, because God planted that desire there when He created your heart: the desire to serve Him, and so become more like Him.