The parable in Luke 12 tells of a rich man who had been so successful in his farming endeavors that he had run out of room to store his crops. That was good, right? He was financially secure. As he considered his options, one became attractive. Luke 12:18-19 says he would tear down his barns and build bigger ones.
The New Living Translation captures the spirit of our rich farmer:
Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
God had a different take on his wealth.
But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:20-21 ESV
Wow, our farmer didn’t see that one coming!
In the Bible, “living as a fool” meant living as if there is no God, as if God did not matter. The Lord can take away our things in a heartbeat. The sharpness of God’s language is a warning, an urgent caution that we must acknowledge God’s control over everything we own.
Instead of acknowledging God’s goodness and looking for a way to use this crop to bless others, the farmer had only one focus—himself. Remember the question that was Jesus’ reason for telling the parable: someone in the crowd demanded that Jesus tell his brother to divide an inheritance with him. in response, Jesus said:
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
If we take Christ’s response to the offended brother and connect it to his rebuke to the rich fool, the point becomes clear. Money, possessions, inheritances, retirement accounts, etc. provide no security. The bottom line of the parable is found in the question asked of the rich fool—this night your soul is required of you … and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
I know that someone might be thinking, “You can’t live life constantly thinking this next moment may be your last. That would be impractical!”
This passage is not teaching you to sell everything you have right now. Jesus is simply saying that what is important in life has little to do with possessions. Life does not consist in the amount of things that we have. It does consist of knowing and living for Christ. Life is about being rich towards God.
How will you show your children God’s riches in 2014?