Today’s reading is taken from Amos 7 & Luke 16:1-15.
James in chapter 3 asks his readers, what I think is, a rhetorical question – “can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” It doesn’t take a genius to answer this, only some primary school level science and perhaps some common sense… yes, definitely some common sense. Although the context here is of bridling the tongue, the core of the statement remains the issue and posture of the heart. The heart is what drives our motives and sets our course. Our hearts are either set on things of God and glorifying him or they are set on glorifying ourselves and our mortal flesh.
Luke in chapter 16 talks about a manager whose heart was deceitful. He was a child of the world in contrast to one of the light (v.8). Although on the surface he was serving his master, in his heart he was serving himself. His heart wasn’t set on service and honesty but was set on riches and selfish gain. When he started off he probably thought he could keep working for his master and perhaps have the occasional shoddy business on the side. But by the looks of things he’s gone too far. It’s come to a place where his greed and ambition are no longer subtle. It’s come to a place where his master has to end his tenure. He probably thought that he could serve two masters but as Luke clearly puts it in verse 13, that is not possible.
Amaziah in Amos 7, on the surface is an agent of God, a priest in the temple. His heart too was set on the wrong thing. When spoken to directly by a prophet of God, Amaziah wasn’t able to discern. Instead he tried to drive out Amos from Israel. He was busy serving the evil regime of King Jeroboam (2 Kings 14:24) instead of serving the God of Jacob. Here too, it is abundantly clear that Amaziah wasn’t able to serve two masters.
Both of these characters although may seem to be serving one master, were in essence serving another. Instead of serving the God who created them, they were in essence serving themselves, their own agenda, and their deceitfulness which would in both cases ultimately lead to their downfall. Salt water and fresh water cannot come from the same source. In the same way our hearts cannot be set on things of God as well as things of the world. We cannot serve God and serve our evil desires. We must make the conscious decision to submit our hearts to the things of God to acknowledge Him as our master and live to serve his cause.