Focal Passages: Luke
12:13-21; Philippians 1:21-26
Jesus’ parable concerns a
rich man whose greed for temporal belongings robbed him of eternal possessions.
Without assigning a name,
God calls the rich man a fool — strong language for someone who has all the
answers to his dilemma — an overabundant crop.
Many farmers would welcome
God calls the rich man a
fool for three reasons. First, he mistakes his body for his soul.
“Soul,” he says, “you have
many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be
merry” (Lk. 12:19, KJV).
Jesus knows that the man’s
soul has nothing laid up. There’s no gratitude laid up for the grain that grew
in God’s earth, drank God’s rain, and ripened under God’s sun.
He overlooks God’s forests
that grew the timber from which the barns were built.
Not even his soul is his
own. It came from God and will return to God at a time of God’s choosing.
We read of no concern laid
up for the needs of others.
Instead, he groans, “What
should I do, since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops?” (v. 17, HCSB).
We shake our heads in
disbelief. Surely there’s room in mouths of the hungry and in homes of the
destitute. But the word, “my,” keeps occurring — “my crops, my barns, my grain,
my goods, my soul.”
Secondly, he mistakes time
for eternity. With goods laid up for many years, he can take life easy.
This philosophy invades our
thinking as well when we’re encouraged to “Buy now; pay no interest for a
Thirdly, he mistakes man for
God, using the phrase “I will” repeatedly as if he, not God, will have the
final word (vs. 17-19).
When George W. Truett
pastored First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, a wealthy rancher invited him for
On the front porch, he said,
“George, look east. I own all the land you see in that direction. Now look
north, south and west. I own everything in that direction, too.”
Dr. Truett was unimpressed.
He pointed upward and asked, “How much do you own in that direction?”
Jesus’ parable ends with
God’s saying, “‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the
things you have prepared — whose will they be?’
“That’s how it is with the
one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”