And [Jesus] told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“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. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“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?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16–21
“In one of Jesus’ most memorable parables, known as “The Rich Fool” (see Luke 12:16–21), we read about a wealthy farmer who ignored God and lived only for himself. He was not “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
This farmer made at least four mistakes. Firstly, he failed to acknowledge God’s generous provisions. God blessed him with his harvest, yet he did not express appreciation or even recognize God as the Provider.
Secondly, the farmer assumed that he was in charge of his wealth and possessions. The pronoun “my” occurs four times in Jesus’ story and the word “I” occurs eight. Such independence is often the natural product of “earned” wealth.
Thirdly, the farmer thought he had plenty of time. He claimed to have “plenty of grain laid up for many years” (Luke 12:19). This man was so busy planning out his comfortable future that he forgot his need for true “life” (Luke 12:15).
Finally, the farmer didn’t share his abundance, but kept it for his own private use. He showed no concern or responsibility for others.
In response to the farmer’s attitudes and actions, “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” (Luke 12:20)? Jesus concludes the lesson of the story with sobering words, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
It’s tragic when people are rich in this life but poor with regard to the next.”
Keith Krell, pastor and professor, in his three-page essay “What does it mean to be rich toward God?” in Purposeful Living: Financial Wisdom for All of Life compiled and edited by Gary G. Hoag and Tim Macready (Rhodes, NSW: Christian Super, 2018) 58-60. Click on the title to download this free ebook today.
When you read Krell’s masterful piece, he keenly advises us not to make the same four mistakes. Instead, when God blesses us materially, he beckons us to exercise humility, cultivate contentment, practice generosity, and forward treasure.
What about you? Regardless of your past, starting today don’t be foolish but be rich toward God.
At the core of this parable we find our role is not just to enjoy God’s provision but to distribute or share it (see 1 Timothy 6:17-19). The rich fool was blessed to be a blessing and decided to keep it all for “his own private use” so God relieved him of his duties.
If God has blessed you abundantly, don’t make the same mistakes. Life is short, enjoy and share generously!
On a personal note, I flew to New York yesterday to meet up with a close friend and Major League Baseball historian, Dan Busby. He’s been coming here regularly for over three decades. He will spend today and tomorrow doing research here in the archives, and I will assist him. As my knowledge is only a fraction of his, perhaps I will give feedback for enhancing an article he’s working on.
The Hall of Fame celebrates the history of America’s favorite pastime for everyone’s benefit. Back in Denver, I’ve been asked to join the board of the National Ballpark Museum, so I am also here to explore the exhibits to learn to create settings that educate and edify all who visit them.
I am praying about this opportunity. If I serve, it will be to bless others richly.Read more