Luke: Rich and Foolish

Read: Luke 12:13-21

The parable of the rich fool was setup by someone in the crowd that wanted Jesus to get in the middle of a sibling battle over inheritance. It’s interesting that Luke captured the moment that prompted the parable. Here we have Jesus preaching and teaching on matters of eternal importance and someone in the crowd sees an opportunity to get their portion of earthly inheritance. Wow!

How many times have I had a chance to learn, to grow, the mature, and yet my mind was focused completely in the wrong direction?

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.” Luke 12:15

The silver lining in being a family that moved a lot was the release of possessions as we packed up and moved frequently. Hoarding stuff is just not in my DNA, but I still have to clean house from time to time. This prompt, the precursor to the parable, reminds me of an important truth: life is not about stuff you collect; it’s about a legacy you leave.

To hammer home the lesson, Jesus paints a picture story for the crowd of a rich man with an exceptionally good season. The money just flows in.

Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ Luke 12:19

We like to immediately judge the guy above because we know that Jesus is setting up the story for a reason, but humor me for a minute. Who doesn’t want to hit the pause button? What if you won the lottery? Pick some huge amount of money. What would you do? Would you take it easy and have the time of your life? I’m sure I would for at least a month or two (or three).

The NIV translation provides an important element – it’s the ground that yielded an abundant harvest. Sure, he worked the ground, planted at the right time, weeded, nurtured, etc., but the abundance was the result of good soil, of an earthly origin. His focus was in the wrong direction.

The man in the story gets excited, tears down the small storage units, and builds a huge system that will let him live out the rest of his days in luxury. No longer concerned with the world or anyone else, let the party begin!

“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 12:20-21

Pay special attention to the bookends on the quote above: “But God said…toward God” There is no doubt where our focus needs to be, and it has little to do with us or anything on Earth.

I do pray for abundance, for seasons of incredible yield, but not for jet-setting and wild living. My prayer is to be generous with that which is given at all times, whether a lot or a little. All this stuff is just temporary. Lord, help me to be a good steward of all the amazing things You continue to give me.

Lord, keep us far from greed, from storing up earthly possessions when the richness of heaven is at our fingertips. Help us to be rich toward You!

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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