Posted by: missionventureministries | February 16, 2015


Rich fool - bigger barns

This parable from Luke 12:13-21 of the rich fool has a very important lesson for each one of us.

Jesus was teaching the multitude when someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

By such an interruption it is obvious that this man did not come to hear Jesus Christ teach. He had come for other motives. The man apparently thought that he might use Jesus to mediate his inheritance case. We need to know that at that time it was customary for people to take their disputes to the rabbis for settlement but this was clearly an act of selfishness and greed.

Jesus immediately refuses and replies, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”

Then, Jesus turned to the multitude and said to them, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

We need to remember that greed and covetousness is mentioned in the Ten Commandments because it is a warning to one of the major human problems. Where greed is involved there is never enough and there is the constant desire to want more.

This was a subject that everyone needed to be aware of, so Jesus warns not just the one man, but the entire crowd. Then He proceeds to tell them the parable of a farmer, who had great success in farming.  (Luke 12:16-21).

“The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.” (v. 16)

As we read the parable, we discover there were three problems with this man.  First, you will notice that he only thought of himself.  Secondly, he did not think about God and thirdly he had no plans to help his fellow man.

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

This man assumes that his life consists in the abundance of things he possesses; the crops are his and they will provide for his well being for many years to come, so he thinks. And he will enjoy life and eat, drink and party.

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ (v. 20)        

The foolishness and selfishness of the rich man is seen in that he fails to think about his “body” and that it is mortal, and that his life can end at any moment. He also does not consider the needs of others, because the needs of the poor are not even taken into consideration. He thinks only of self as it is denoted by the number of “I’s” and “my’s” in these verses. Not once does he thank and glorify God for the abundance of the harvest.

This man lives as if God did not exist, and God is not a factor in his life or in the decisions he makes. He does not look for holy advice and he does not pray. He rationalizes and determines that he will keep everything and then will consume it in self-indulgences. In his mind, his land, his possessions, and his life are all under his control. The tendency is that the more successful a person is the more their focus is on the now, and they see their security only in their riches.

We need to be very careful how we live, since we never know when our time here on earth will end.

As Jesus continues He explains that those who lay up treasure for themselves, and are not rich toward God, are like this rich fool! (v. 21)

If our plans for the future are focus only on self, and not on God and the needs of others, we are no different than the rich fool. It is wise to plan but we should do it wisely with God’s help through the Holy Spirit guidance, through prayer and reading his Word.

The rich farmer is a fool not because he is wealthy or because he saves for the future, but because he appears to live only for himself, and because he believes that he can secure his life with his abundant possessions.

The lesson of the parable is that the rich man did not prepare for eternal life and he did not realize that everything is created and owned by God. He had no relationship with the living God. In his planning he had no regard for the God that created him and had given him possessions and stewardship of the land.

This parable teaches us that earthly riches are not the answer to our eternal security. The important thing is that we must be rich spiritually to inherit eternal life.

We need to ensure that our heart is in the right place. Jesus said:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)


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