The sixth category of the parables Jesus gave, is the parables about wealth. The first parable in this category is the parable of the rich fool; found in Luke 12:16-21. The bible text say;
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 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. 19 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!”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
The rich man was a hard worker. He was also a planner. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being wealthy, working hard and planning for retirement – preparing for life before death. Planning for retirement is a very wise thing to do. The bible encourages us to plan.
So where did he go wrong?
Not acknowledging God in his success. The story is filled with “I and my”. He allowed his blessings to become his idol. He gave himself a pat on the back and stopped there. He forgot that;
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127:1
He neglected life after death. He was only thinking about life on earth. Even though he was seen as a wealthy man on earth, he wasn’t recognised in heaven. Neglecting life after death is disastrous. There are many wealthy people in our world today who have no regard for Jesus Christ. They don’t want anything to do with Him. They are not interested in discussions about heaven. Such people are foolish because they will realise in the end that their wealth cannot buy their way into God’s kingdom.
19: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: Matthew 6:19-20
He was selfish. He was so wealthy but yet didn’t reach out to anyone. If we accumulate wealth only to enrich ourselves, with no concern for helping others, we will enter eternity empty-handed.
Why do we do what we do? Jesus challenges us to think beyond our earthly goals and use what we have also for God’s kingdom.
Next week, we will be looking at another parable.
If you would like to read previous parables, please click here.