“Two things cannot be in one place. Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”[i]
This quotation by Frances Hodgson Burnett is pretty profound when you think about it. A person cannot feed love and feed hate at the same time. One displaces the other, like light displaces the darkness.
Except, we know from our own experience that we can love and hate at the same time. It’s just that we cannot love and hate the same thing at the same time. This is what the quotation is saying: a rose and a thistle cannot occupy the same space, though roses and thistles can certainly stand side-by-side. We can love one person and hate another.
Jesus puts a twist on these thoughts when he says that a person cannot serve two masters. When two priorities are vying for position in our hearts, they cannot both occupy the top position: “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” And Jesus provides us a ready example: “You cannot serve both God and money.”