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THE RICH FOOL
Jesus was ministering to the people. A listener asked Jesus to talk to his older brother about dividing his inheritance with him, for Rabbis normally settled family disputes.
Luke 12:13-15 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" Then he 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."
Jesus refused to enter the family dispute about money for it had nothing to do with His mission, but used the occasion to teach a lesson in greed for He had discerned covetousness in the man and told a portrayal of selfishness to the crowd, warning against coveting earthly material possessions which are temporary.
Luke 12:16-21 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 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 all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things 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 anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
In the parable Jesus spoke the emphasis of the farmer is on ' I ' and ' I will ' and ' my '. The farmer even called his soul his own. To be ambitious is not covetous, but this farmer was ambitious for himself alone and did not store up treasure and investments in heaven.
The farmer thought he was preparing for his future, but in reality
he neglected his true future. The rich fool was interested only in this
earthly life and not that of eternal life. He laid up treasures for himself
on earth which were to be left behind, for he only prepared himself for
that which is temporary.
Preparing for life before death is wise but foolish if eternal life is neglected.
God is not in any of his thoughts, nor did he seem to acknowledge that God was his provider. God Himself sends the seasons on earth and He is the one who gives the power for abundant wealth. Therefore there is no room for pride in having much wealth. The fool mistakenly looked upon his possessions as his own, not as gifts from God to be used unselfishly, and failed to see life's real objective.
The successful farmer, in need of nothing yet thought he increased his riches that he had his heart set upon, he was really poor without knowing it. He failed to be rich towards God who is his sovereign. He forgot that God held his life, that there was a time to die and face judgement. God knows what a person thinks within themselves. He is the discerner of thoughts and judge of the heart. God thought him to be a fool, according to Jesus. A fool is without earthly or spiritual perception, and therefore did not understand the true meaning or experience fully the real gain of contentment.
He was a godless thinking fool living a godless life. He was man who was blind to the fact that man cannot live by bread alone. True life with God is more important than material goods and has nothing to do with earthly wealth. This is the exact opposite of what society of the world believes. Earthly wealth that is temporary is ultimately worthless. What the farmer owned was valueless to him after his death.
The selfishness of the farmer is a result of his wealth, which Jesus condemned. The sin of covetousness and the acquiring of assets is futile and self-defeating, it is dangerous to focus on wealth. Covetousness is a self-seeking desire which is usually over material possessions that someone else owns. Covetousness grows to greed and an all-consuming lust. A covetous person is an idolater.
If a person gives in to the desire to covet, they usually are self-centred and continually yearn and end up a fair distance apart from God. The farmer is an example of those who are not rich with the things of God.
True life is found in God, through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus warned His disciples to seek after everlasting spiritual benefits.
The person who is fully blessed with earthly wealth by God is one who is willing to distribute it to those in need, first giving to God what belongs to God. Earthly possessions are meagre and mean nothing unless those who own them are rich in the Grace of God, rich in God's works and rich in God's word. Jesus told His disciples the only storehouse is in heaven.
Jesus challenged His listeners to think beyond earthbound goods. The farmer was a fool because he thought he could satisfy his soul with perishable goods, he presumed that he would live to a ripe old age. He was totally self-centred and only wished to indulge in himself. It is a sin of error to lay up fortune for one's self. It is also wrong to call his storage, treasure. Heaven is the only dwelling of valuable assets.
Eternal abundance is within the reach of mankind, that is the wealth that should be coverted by all.
The farmer called all his possessions his own, forgetting that all belongs to God and humans are but stewards and tenants of all that is God's. He planned to store up and keep for the increase for himself instead of helping the poor and needy.
Believers should not act like worldly people, worrying and coveting worldly wealth.
The parable deals with covetousness, which is the 10th commandment. The other nine commandments are warnings of the sins that grow from coveting.
Covetousness is the most unfortunate evil of the human heart. The lust for possessions is insatiable and is the strongest motivator in any individual's life. People believe with wealth comes power, but this is deception of how the worldly measure each other.
A covetous person thinks that the good life is grounded and found in earth and material possessions. This is a distorted perspective of the human heart. The farmer's problem is that he invested his entire life in his possessions, it is not the problem that he had possessions. Such short-sighted investment is foolish indeed.
The selfish motive behind wealth of the foolish farmer was the same problem for the covetousness man who wanted Jesus to judge his brother's inheritance.
Jesus then taught the crowd on the correct perspective of wealth and God's provision.
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