Serving 2 Masters

In Episode 4 of the "Connecting Covenants" podcast series, we talked a little bit about the biblical contrast of monogamy (Genesis 2) and polygamy (most of the rest of Genesis) and the problems that ensue with the practice of the latter. Today I thought I would share a humorous and relevant fable from the Greek storyteller Aesop about “The Man and His Two Wives”:

“In a country where men could have more than one wife, a certain man, whose head was fast becoming white, had two, one a little older than himself and one much younger. The young wife, being of a happy and lively turn, did not want people to think she had an old man for a husband, and so she pulled out as many of his white hairs as she could. The old wife, on the other hand, did not wish to seem older than her husband, and so she used to pull out the black hairs. This went on, until between them both, they made the poor man quite bald.”

Aesop’s moral was that “no man can belong to two parties at once.” So while the story echoes quite humorously the teachings of Genesis about the pitfalls of any deviation from the one-to-one pairing for marriage, the moral also resembles one of Jesus’s core teachings – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). Why? Because just like the man with two wives, two objects of your devotion (God and Greed) will each be trying to pluck away different parts of you. In order to mold you into the image of Jesus, God must work on chiseling or plucking away your self-centeredness, your worry, your worldliness. But how can He be effective in His work if your other spouse (Greed) is chiseling or plucking away your sense of charity, of trust, of hope, of virtue? If you try to stay married to God and Greed at the same time, you’ll end up with neither. You’ll end up spiritually and physically bald like the man in Aesop’s fable.

It’s time for a “Master Check-up.” Next time you make a decision about time, money, or energy…ask yourself which Master is directing your decision. If you sense that Greed, in its various forms, still has an active relationship with you…it may be past-due-time for a break-up.   


To His Glory,


Caleb Cochran

Preaching & Outreach Minister

Rockville, MD


Photo credit: pictures of money / Foter / CC BY