#133 (13/06/04)
Parables for Everyday Living Part IV

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

This past January, you here in California at least, will remember on one day there were 2 separate attacks by a mountain lion. One of the victim is a female, critically injured, seconds from being fatal. If it had not been for the bravery of her friend and the fellow bikers and her faith Anne Hjelle would not be here with us today. She’s a beautiful girl. She’s already had plastic surgery and will have more, but she loves Jesus Christ

Special Music

" Joyful, Joyful.. "
" He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands "
" Love Lifted Me "

" The Majesty & Glory of Your Name "
“Champion by Choice”

VIOLIN SOLO – YVONNE LAM – “Rondo Capriccioso”
SOLO – DEVON GUTHRIE – “You Raise Me Up”

Acticle of The Message

My father and I are going through the parables of Jesus, and this morning we're going to take a look at the parable referred as "The Rich Fool," as found in Luke 12:13-21

Then one from the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance of my father with me."

But Jesus said to him, "Who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses.

Then Jesus spoke a parable to them saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yield plentifully.

"And the man thought within himself, saying, 'what shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater barns, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.

'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.

"But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'

"So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Whenever I hear that title, "The Rich Fool," I cringe because I can't help but think of the words of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount when He says, "...But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell's fire." (Matthew 5:22)

What Makes a Fool?

Now what we have to realize is that there is a difference between being "dumb" and being a "fool." We all do dumb things. All we have to do is watch that program called "Bloopers" and you will know exactly what I'm talking about. We, as human beings, do dumb things all the time.

One of the funniest examples of doing something dumb occurred this past summer at Lake Isabella near Bakersfield California. Some folks, who were new to boating, were having a problem. No matter how hard they tried they couldn't get their brand new 22-foot boat going. It was very sluggish in almost in every maneuver. No matter how much power was applied, they just couldn't seem to maneuver the boat. Exasperated, they finally went back to the marina and had the boat checked out. On the surface, everything seemed to be working perfectly. The motor ran perfectly. The out-drive would go up and down perfectly. The props were clean. Everything went well. Finally the mechanic at the marina said, "Let me check one last thing," and he promptly dove under the boat. What he found was that the boat was still on the trailer! True story! We as humans do a lot of dumb things.

Now let me share with you something foolish ... the difference between doing something dumb, and just being plain foolish. A young man drives up to a shepherd in his brand new BMW. Arriving in a cloud of dust he gets out of the car with his Gucci shoes, his Armani suit and his Rayban sunglasses. The man looks at the shepherd and says, "Would you give me one of your sheep if I am able to tell you exactly how many sheep are in your flock?"

The shepherd thinks for a minute and finally agrees.

The well dressed man promptly whips out his Dell Notebook Computer and connects it to his AT&T cell phone. He surfs the web to a NASA page where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on their location. Then he feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area taking ultra-high resolution photos. Then the young man opens this digital photo into his computers ADOBE Photo Shop program, and then exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds he receives and e-mail on his computer telling him that the image has been processed and the data stored.
Finally, he prints out a full color 150-page report on his high-tech miniaturized Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet printer, quickly scans the report, then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep."

"That's right," the impressed Shepherd says. "So I guess you can take one of my sheep. Why don’t you go ahead and pick one out."

The young man selects one of the animals and puts it into his BMW.

Before the young man had the chance to drive away, the shepherd says, "Now, if I can tell you exactly what kind of business you're in, will you give me back my sheep?"

The young man thinks about it for a second says, "Okay."

"You’re a consultant," the Shepherd says.

"Yeah," the young man says with astonishment. "How did you know that?"

"Well, you showed up here even though nobody asked you to come. You wanted to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don't give a darn about my business. Now, before you drive away ... please give me back my dog."

There is a difference between being a fool and doing something dumb. The difference is that a fool doesn't know who he is. He doesn't know what life's really all about. He doesn't care about people. In the parable of "The Rich Fool," God sees a man who simply is intent on quitting life. The man has become rich and decides that all he really is going to do is eat, drink, and be merry. "My barns are full," he says. "I don’t have to do anything anymore." God responds by saying, "...you fool, this night your life will be required."
We have to realize some of the dynamics taking place in this wonderful parable. The scripture passage in Luke 12:13 begins with a man in the crowd asking Jesus to, "...tell my brother to give me some of the inherence." He is trying to get Jesus involved in a family squable and Jesus refuses to do so. He doesn’t tell the brother to give some of the inheritance. Instead He tells us the parable of the "Rich Fool." Christ is looking at the heart of the man asking the question and sees his greed. He sees a man compelled with getting more. Isn’t this what consumes so much of our lives today? There never seems to be enough. We always want more. Yet in this process of getting more, we lose out on the greatest treasures that life has to offer... the treasure of a family.

Because this man in the crowd doesn't have enough money, he is arguing with his brother over the inheritance instead of choosing to love his brother. He is choosing to love money rather than people.

The parable also teaches us not to loose out on the opportunities life has to offer. Here in the parable the "Rich Fool" decides, "I don’t need to work anymore." In his wealth he has forgotten about all the opportunities in life.

One of the great lessons that I take from this parable is that money is not the only thing that can cause lost opportunities. The pressures of life can do the same thing. Today, many feel so much stress in their daily life that they feel weighed down, bombarded, and buried. These are the times we need to be reminded to preservere ... to keep going and, through prayer, know that we will somehow get through the tough times.

One of my favorite stories of perseverance is about the donkey that fell in the well. The donkey was old and the farmer believed that he’d probably broken his legs in the fall and decided that the most humane thing to do would be to bury him where he fell. So he called his sons and they started taking shovels full of dirt and throwing them into the well. It didn’t take long and the well started to fill up with dirt. All of a sudden they saw the ears of the donkey peek over the top of the well. A few more scoop of dirt and the donkey’s head appeared. With each shovel full of dirt thrown in that well, the donkey would simply shake his back, then stomp that dirt down under his feet. Every bit of dirt thrown onto to the back of that donkey ended up being his salvation. A few minutes later the well filled up with dirt and the donkey hopped out and walked away.

The lesson here is that we all go through life carrying burdens filled with opportunities. These burdens are our opportunity to see the salvation of God at work in our lives.
The treasure of faith: to believe and to trust in the magnificent power of God. Believe that somehow, someway God will carry you through the deepest of valleys.

The parable concludes with these words from Jesus:

"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself, but is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:21)

The parable of the "rich fool" reminds us of how critically important it is for us to always put God first. Life isn’t about collecting possessions and becoming rich, but it’s about action ... about doing what God has called us to do ... being a part of humanity and doing something great for the kingdom of God.

In this world of ours there are 25 thousand people who will die today because they don’t have enough food. In thinking of ways to be mindful of the needs of others, I often refer to Matthew 25:34 where Jesus says:

"Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took Me in."

How quickly we lose sight in this plentiful world, the calling God has given to us. Everything we have is a gift from God. Not to be stored up in T-bills, treasury accounts and stock options. Don’t get the wrong impression. There is absolutely nothing wrong with becoming wealthy. There is absolutely nothing wrong from receiving benefit and bounty from God. That is not what is foolish. What is foolish is receiving this bounty from God and losing the greatest treasures in the world ... the treasure of the kingdom of God.

So today, I just want to implore you to love your mothers ... to love your brothers and sisters ... to love all your family members ... to love your friends ... to love your neighbors. To love all those around you and allow the true beauty of the kingdom of God shine through your hearts today. Don’t be a fool and just try to build bigger barns. Be wise. Use money to love people.

Dear God, We thank You that You have blessed us in so many prosperous and wonderful ways that we can hardly count them. Today we stand here in Your presence, in awe of the love that You have for us. You gave us Your son, Jesus Christ, that if we believe in Him, we shall have everlasting life. And so we thank You for life, and blessings that the life You have given to us bring. Now we can praise Your name always and forever, Amen.

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