The Two Contrary Masters
Luke 16:10-13
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.…

For the opening and prosecuting of which words, consider —

1. What these two masters are.

2. What it is to serve them.

3. How none can serve them both.

4. Why none can serve them both.

5. The use and application.For the first of these, these two masters are God and the world, but with much difference, as we may see severally. God is a Lord and Master absolutely, properly, and by good right in Himself; being in His own nature most holy, most mighty, most infinite in glory and sovereignty over all His creatures. Again, He is a Lord and Master in relation to us: and not only by right of creation and preservation as we are men and creatures, but also by right of redemption and sanctification, as new men and new creatures.

1. He hath made a covenant with us, first of works, and then of grace.

2. He hath appointed our work.

3. He hath as a Master appointed us liberal wages, even a merciful reward of eternal life.Thus is God a Lord and Master. Now, on the other side, the world is called a master or lord, not by any right in itself, of over us, but —

1. By usurpation.

2. By man's corruption, and defection from the true God.

3. By the world's general estimation, and acceptation of the wealth and mammon, as a lord and great commander; which appeareth —

(1)  By subjecting themselves to the basest services of wealth for wealth.

(2)  By affecting wealth as the chief good.

(3)  By depending (as servants on their masters) on their wealth.Concerning the service of these masters, we must mark, that our Saviour saith not, A man cannot serve God that hath riches, but, He cannot serve God and riches. For he that cannot distinguish between having the world, and serving the world, cannot understand this text and conclusion of Jesus Christ. Our Lord well knew it was lawful both to have, and to seek, and to use the world holily and humbly. But how may we conceive that one cannot be servant to two masters, or to these two? In these conditions:

1. Not at the same time.

2. Not in their proper commands; for as they are contrary lords, so they command contrary things, and draw to contrary courses. One calls to works of mercy, charity, compassion, liberality, and the like; the other to cruelty, and unmercifulness, to shut our eyes from beholding our own flesh, to shut our ear from the cry of the poor, to shut our purse and hand from the charitable relief of Christ's poor members. And how can one man obey both these in their contrary commands?

3. No man can serve two masters in sovereignty, unless they be subordinate one to the other, and so their commands concur in order one to another, and cross not one another.The reasons whereof are these:

1. A servant is the possession of his master; and one possession can have but one owner and possessor at once.

2. The servant of the world sets up his wealth as an idol in his heart; by which the worldling forsakes the true God, and turns to most gross idolatry. So of the second reason.

3. The apostle (Romans 6:16) asks thus, "Know ye not, that to whomsoever ye give yourselves as servants to obey, his servants ye are whom ye do obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" But the distinction implies that they cannot obey both together.

4. No man can serve these two masters, because a man cannot divide his heart between God and the world; and if he could, God will have no part of a divided heart, as Elijah said in that case (1 Kings 18:20).How may I know what master I serve?

1. Whom hast thou covenanted withal? God or the world? To whom hast thou wholly resigned thyself? Is thy strength become God's? Is thy time His? thy labour His?

2. Every servant is commanded by his master. God's servant knows his Lord's mind and pleasure, and readily attempts it, even in most difficult commandments.

3. Every servant receives wages of his own master, and thrives by his service. Of whom doest thou receive wages?

4. Which of these two masters lovest thou best? He that is thy master, thy affection must cleave to him, as is said of the prodigal.

5. If thou beest the servant of God, thy wealth is His servant as well as thyself.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

WEB: He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

The Crime of Avarice
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