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."
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
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
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
"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.