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During His sermon on the mount, Jesus said “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).

Mammon seems to be an Aramaic word for “riches”. Despite that meaning?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùand perhaps focusing more on the rest of the verse?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùmany members of the Church have interpreted this verse to mean that a person cannot be righteous and sinful at the same time. In other words, for example, a person cannot shop on Sunday (even if it is to purchase a loaf of bread for the sacrament ten minutes after the meting started because one of the teachers forgot or was home sick), without giving service to someone other than God; presumably Satan.

I have two questions.

1) Is this true? Is there no circumstance when one can be seemingly serving two masters?

2) Does keeping the commandments constitute service to God?

8 thoughts on “Mammon

  1. The first question–is this true? Are you looking for comments on whether Christ was wrong when he said this?

  2. Do you really think that given the context of Matt 6:24 that Jesus was speaking about two human masters?

    It’s pretty clear from the surrounding verses that he’s specifically talking about worldly possesions in regard to the other master.

    In Matt 6 Jesus is basically saying, don’t sweat the little worldly things, concentrate on finding God and it’ll all work out. Just chill out and believe.

    I think he’s basically saying you can’t prioritize wealth and God on the same level, if you really are serving God the money doesn’t matter, and if you put money before God, you’re not going to be showing your love for God.

    If someone wants to genrealize these statements and apply them to all sin, that puts a whole new slant on things and raises several questions about priorities and the definition of serving God.

    I’ll ask my rabbi and get back to you.

  3. I don’t understand, I think that we are all ‘righteous and sinful’ at the same time. It’s an effect of the fallen world in which we live in. We strive to serve our master, but we never quite get there. King Benjamin taught
    “I say unto you that if ye should serve• him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving• you from day to day, by lending you breath•, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable• servants.”

    I don’t know if the reading you present is common or not, but it’s clear to me that because of our sins, we never fully serve our master here. It would be arrogant and ignorant of the atonement if we though otherwise. Therefore, I’ll try to press forward through my sinfulness and serve the true master the best I can. I hope this makes sense.

  4. John,

    The issue I presented isn’t whether we can ever serve God; it’s whether there is ever a situation where we can serve two so-called masters.

    Well, I also presented on whether keeping the commandments is what defines “service”.

  5. Kim,

    My point is that in mortality, we seem to serve Satan at some level always. Therefore, if we are to serve God’s purposes, we’d have to serve two masters. For instance, I love doing service in the church and out. I feel that this is serving the lord. Yet no matter how hard I try, a little part of me swells with ego and self congratulation, thus serving Satan (or hindering my progression, same thing). I try to conrol that side effect of serving, but I suspect it will be there as long as I walk this earth. The bread example you gave is another good instance where one would have to serve the lesser of two evils.

    As far as the other question, I have always viewed keeping the commandments as service to god. But this I realize is very self centered, as commandments are given for our benefit and progression.

  6. Reminds me of the whole ‘It’s easier to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven’

    You cannot serve both God and Money. Such puts the majority in a precarious situation, but do ye serve Mammon freely, or are ye simply a slave unto its yoke? This is the problem with any capitalistic approach, for such is the way of Mammon, yes, capitalists are evil, but what’s new?

    You either love God and hate money, or love money and hate God, simple really. Although having a seeming need for money (which we all do) and living for the sole purpose of attaining material wealth… – there is a very big difference between the two.

  7. “You either love God and hate money, or love money and hate God”

    I’m assuming you love God, Dan. Email me and I’ll tell you where to forward all of your hated money.

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