Parable Of The Rich Fool

Luke 12:13-21

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 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.”’ 20 “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?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Since I believed and was baptized in 1976,  I have heard numerous sermons on this parable.  The sermons would emphasize that having wealth is not a sin but only the love of it.  It is such a relief to many believers who live in such an affluent society as mine thinking that as long as we are not greedy to gain more, we are fine.  Is the parable that warns against all kinds of greed really says so ?

Our Lord already stated that life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.  In another word,  having an abundance or being rich is already a red flag.  Is the rich man in the parable greedy ?   It was his own land that yielded an unexpected abundant harvest.  It was unexpected because his present barns could not hold all.  This situation is no different from what we will face when we have an unexpected salary increase, promotion or a good business year.   There is no greed to gain more in such a situation.  Yet God was displeased with his mind being rich towards himself and not towards God.  The rich man’s first thought was how to place the abundance and to store up enough for him to take life easy from then. He could very well used this extra abundance to bless others –  to satisfy both spiritual and physical hunger – and thus laying up treasure for himself in heaven.  Ambrose once said,”The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever.”   Actually our Lord Jesus said a lot about the danger of riches, sometimes calling riches unrighteous or deceitful.  God even called this rich man a FOOL.   Yet how many affluent believers really feel the serious danger in the warning ?

If Christ comes today,  how are we going to answer what we do with our possessions ?  

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