Jesus' Parables: The Rich Fool
In Luke 12:1, “an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another,” to hear the teachings of Jesus. And Jesus, as always, doesn’t disappoint. He begins the chapter by warning His disciples about hypocrisy, then moves on to the fear of God (v. 4-7), and finally, the need to confess Christ before men (v. 8-12). Jesus is then interrupted by a man in the crowd—a man who has a specific request for Him (v. 13). But Jesus doesn’t resolve this man’s problem. Rather, He rebukes the man (v. 14) and uses it as a teaching moment for all present to hear (v. 15-21). It is there we are told of the Parable of the Rich Fool. On the surface, it appears this man has it all. He’s living the American dream. Why wouldn’t we want to be like him? But Jesus said this man had a problem.
Having riches doesn’t promise us security: This rich fool thought he was set up for many, many years. He thought he could just “eat, drink, and be merry” for the rest of his life (v. 19). But God had other plans (v. 20). It’s a humble reminder that life is short (James 4:14; Ps. 90:10, 12). In what do you place your security? Don’t buy into the idea that if you save enough money, you won’t have any worries. Don’t buy into the idea your money can and will control your future. Real trust and dependence are found in God. And that means being content. Everything we have is God’s and from God. We are just stewards of what God has given us (I Cor. 4:2).
Having riches also doesn’t promise us satisfaction: This rich fool’s attitude was, “If I only had bigger barns” (v. 17-18). But how long would that last? We convince ourselves that if we had just a little bit more, we’d be satisfied. But it doesn’t work that way (Eccl. 5:10). To combat that temptation, we’re called to be generous (Eph. 4:28b). Let us recognize the true source of our wealth and be generous with what we have. Why? Because we’re laying a foundation for what really matters (I Tim. 6:17-19).
We must have the proper perspective in our lives: We’re a blink of an eye away from losing it all. Money has clouded the judgment of people all throughout time. Please let it not cloud your judgment. The best investment you and I can ever make is a relationship with Jesus. God does not promise us health, wealth, and prosperity. What He does promise us are spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3, 2:4-7) that last an eternity.
-- Steven Matthews