Posted by: missionventureministries | October 19, 2017

LESSONS FROM THE RICH FOOL – Luke 12:17-20

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” (Luke 12:20)  

This verse gives God’s warning for people whose dominating concern is the accumulation of material possessions. Such a person is, by the Lord’s own testimony, a fool. 

But before the man in this parable became a covetous fool, he first became a self-centered individual interested only in his own desires. In the verses comprising his monologue in (Luke 12:17-19), he used the personal pronouns “I” and “my” no less than eleven times. 

And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 

“My” is the devil’s pronoun. It was Satan who first said “I.” “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Lucifer’s self-seeking covetousness brought rebellion and sin into the angelic host, and then into human beings. Ever since his fall he has used this deadly sin of self-centeredness to keep men away from God and to lead them into all kinds of other overpowering sins.

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 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 focused 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 point of the lesson in this 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 as 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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