serve two masters

serve two masters

To simultaneously tend to or support or devote oneself to two different—often conflicting—responsibilities, pursuits, ideas, or people. It comes from the Biblical phrase, "No man can serve two masters." You need to decide if you are married to your wife or to your work because you simply cannot serve two masters.
See also: master, serve, two

serve two masters

FORMAL
If a person or organization tries to serve two masters, they try to be loyal to two opposing principles, beliefs or organizations. An organization such as the BBC can either make a profit or provide an excellent public service. It cannot, however, be asked to serve two masters. Note: This expression is used in the Bible. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says: `No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.' (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)
See also: master, serve, two

serve two masters

take orders from two superiors or follow two conflicting or opposing principles or policies at the same time.
This phrase alludes to the warning given in the Bible against trying to serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).
See also: master, serve, two

serve two ˈmasters

(usually used in negative sentences) support two opposing parties, principles, etc. at the same time: Government ministers are not allowed to work for private companies as nobody can serve two masters at once.This expression comes from the Bible.
See also: master, serve, two
References in classic literature ?
I've been the slave to my money, and since I can't serve two masters I'm letting the money slide.
They knew it would be hard to serve two masters and do both jobs well.
There's a nuance that in PR, you serve two masters the client and the media.
EIU quotes Warren Buffett: 'It's too tough to serve two masters.'
Niagara Falls Councilman Ken Tompkins said Monday it may be too much for Piccirillo to serve two masters as building commissioner and director of community development, leaving the opportunity for a grey area when it comes to monitoring the entire city.
Much is made of players in England - unlike Ireland - having to serve two masters as the clubs are their principal employers.
It has been well said, as it relates to organizational conflicts of interest (OCI), that no one can serve two masters. One might be tempted to view OCI related to the outsourcing of government acquisition in much the same way--simply and in a binary fashion: if an economic entity is awarded government acquisition work, it will be excluded from competitions for future business related to that acquisition work.
At the American Accounting Association's recent 100th annual meeting and conference, I addressed a topic familiar to CPA Journal readers: Can CPAs serve two masters, the client and the public?
Forty of the 50 fund companies are owned by financial conglomerates and they serve two masters: the conglomerates' shareholders and the fund investors, said Bogle.
Jim Wallace added: "The simple reality is that the Scottish Labour Party have a split agenda and they cannot serve two masters, it's clear to see."
ME: Some social entrepreneurs, such as microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus, argue that companies cannot serve two masters, profit and social good.
In my tradition we endeavor to follow the teachings of Jesus, who said that no servant can serve two masters; you cannot serve God and mammon.
No man can serve two masters and no master can serve two people either.
"No one can serve two masters" and remain unconflicted about it.