Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
8) Matthew 6 - Serve God
Matthew 6:22 The lamp of the body is the eye.  This is a metaphor within an allegory:  the eye is not literally the
lamp of the body but is the means by which light is admitted into the body and interpreted for the body.

Thus, figuratively it may be said to be the light of the body.  Also, (Luke 11:34-36) this same figure could fit other

The context of this allegory, Matthew 6:19-34, is entirely devoted to the viewpoint of the wise and godly man
regarding wealth and worry.  This figure, then, is supposed to throw light on the entire section and especially the
verses which precede and follow it.

The eye is that organ of the body which receives light and, by means of the optic nerve, transmits this light to the
brain and then to the body.  The accuracy of the image received by the eye is the degree to which that image
reflects the reality in nature, and is controlled by the quality of the eye.
The eye is probably man's intellect, his conscience, his moral vision, his viewpoint, his way of looking at things, his
philosophy.  The body becomes that major part of man which is affected by his outlook, namely his actions, the way
he expresses himself on the basis of his way of looking at things.  The light or darkness then stands for the degree
to which the man comprehends reality as it is.  Since all depends upon the quality of the man's eye, that is the
orientation of his convictions, it becomes imperative that we learn what kind of eye is single and what is evil.

Single-mindedness vs. Double minded:
   a)  "single, simple, fixed upon one object, one goal" one Master, unadulterated with mixed motives, sincere,
         holy (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 2nd Corinthians 11:3).
   b)  "double-minded, spoiled, driven by many selfish motives, evil." (James 1:5-8), more generally, evil, wicked,
        worthless, etc.

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters.  Jesus' expression is stronger than the English versions render it, for
He said, "No man can be a slave to (douleuein) two lords."  It is assumed that we were created to serve someone or
something (Genesis 2:15).
You cannot serve God and mammon.  Mammon is a common Aramaic word for wealth, property, riches.  There is
probably personification here, and there is no proof there was a god called Mammon at the time of the New

Wealth is the kind of god that a person can carry with him anywhere or hoard up in his treasury.  Wealth is the god
of selfishness, since man will abandon the heavenly Father for it; rare is the man who ever left the service of wealth
to give himself to God (Matthew 7:13-14).  Money earned is coined life; money spent for self is a life spent for self;
money wasted is life wasted.  Mammon-worship is nothing but civilized life which organizes itself for itself without
considering God.

Another word for this covetousness is idolatry!  (Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5, 1st Corinthians 5:11).  It is clearly
idolatry because it is the taking away from God what is His due and giving it to a creature (Matthew 22:37, Romans
Here is a quote from Pink.  It shows the intransigence of the two masters, the impossibility to enslave oneself to
both:  Their orders are diametrically opposed (Luke 16:1-13):
   "The one commands you to walk by faith, the other to walk by sight; the one to be humble, the other to be
     proud; the one to set your affections on things above, the other to set them on the things that are on the
     earth; the one to look at the things unseen and eternal, the other to look at the seen and temporal; the one to
     have your citizenship in heaven, the other to cleave to the dust; the one to be careful for nothing, the other to
     be all anxiety; the one to content with such as you have, the other to enlarge your desires as the grave;
     the one to be ready to distribute, the other to withhold; the one to look at the things of others, the other to
     look at one's own things; the one to seek happiness in the Creator, the other to seek it in the creature.  Is it
     not plain that there is no serving two such masters?" (215, 216)

The idolatry of covetousness is at the bottom of all straining after wealth and all worry over poverty and is as fatal to
one's spiritual life as can be imagined.  This is true because this worldly mindedness is nothing but an unbeliever's
over-estimate of material good.  It is only a matter of circumstances whether this covetousness will show itself in
raking in the money or in selfish worry.  It is the same sin for the worldly-minded rich man as for the covetous poor
The poor must face the same decision as the rich.  People, rich or poor, who worry are people who forget to pray.  
People who pray and continue to worry are double-minded, not having set their minds upon one Master, God.  The
do not yet trust God (James 1:5-8).
Back to Matthew 6 Study Index Page