Welcome to Doctor's Life Support, daily Bible readings for busy doctors...
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24
The contrast here is profound, a black and white situation. The relationship between servant (or slave) and master used to be very close. The servant literally belonged to his master, made it his aim in life to understand his mind and obeyed him implicitly. As with all close human bonds, love could transform it; but if it went wrong, hate might well replace love. Or if another master came into the picture, the servant's allegiance might be switched. What is humanly impossible is to be loyal and obedient to the needs and wishes of two masters at the same time.
The two masters contrasted here are God and worldy goods. Mammon does not mean being rich, but is a worldly attitude to wealth, desiring it for its own sake, accumulating it, allowing it to mould our attitude to others and to promote our own standing and reputation.
But the particular application which the Lord makes here is surprising. Don't let worldly goods, he says, become a distraction to you. Don't have a divided mind about where your necessary food and drink are coming from or how you are going to get clothes to wear. Look at the birds as they fly. Your Heavenly Father each day gives them all that they need. You cannot even add so little as a few feet to the length of your life's journey by being anxious about these things. Think about the lilies of the field. They are frail and ephemeral, but God has given them a beauty far greater than the richest man can provide for himself.
God has given to all creation the means and resources by which to obtain nourishment and physical identity. Man has his own special gifts allowing him to plan ahead, to sow, to reap, to store and construct with his hands, but, equally, these gifts are from God. Trust him absolutely. Ask for sufficient resources for each day, and he will surely provide.
You are worrying about your next job? You are anxious about keeping your mortgage
payments going? You don't know if you can ever hold on in the promotion race? Don't be distracted in this way. It's wrong. Follow the Lord with all your heart and use all the gifts, resources and intelligence he has given you. He will not fail to provide for you.
Grant to me, Lord, the blessing of singleness of heart,
that I may love and serve you before and beyond all else.
Further reading: Mt 6:24-33.