THE PARABLES OF JESUS
 

The Rich Fool

Scripture:  Luke 12:13-21

13 One of the multitude said to him, "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." 14 But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" 15 And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 16 And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' 18 And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' 20 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 he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Meditation: In Jesus' time it was customary for people to take their disputes to the rabbis for settlement.  Jesus refuses such a case and instead gives the disputant a parable to "mull over".  How would you react if Jesus refused to settle your dispute, but gave you a parable instead?  What is the point of Jesus' story about a wealthy landowner and why does he call him a fool?   Jesus does not falut him for his industriousness, but for his egoism and selfishness. Like the rich man and Lazarus, he had lost the capacity to be concerned for others.  His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final loss of his soul!  In the parable of the rich fool Jesus gives a lesson on using material possessions.  His lesson contains a warning to beware of all covetousness.  To covet is to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge what God gave him.  Jesus restates the commandment do not covet, but he also states that a person's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  In this little parable Jesus probes the heart -- where is your treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus.  The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure most?
 
"Lord, free me from all covetousness and from attachment to possessions.  May I wholly desire you as my treasure and portion.  Help me to make good use of the material blessings you give me that I may use them generously for your glory and for the good of others."


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(c) 1998 Don Schwager