Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Parable of the Rich Fool

Luke 12:16-21

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.”

S - Scripture

21 Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.

O - Observation

The words "I" and "me" appear a lot in this parable. The man had more than he needed. Instead of sharing, he wanted to build bigger barns. His life was about himself (verse 18) and waiting for tomorrow (verse 19). The consistent message of God is to share our lives with others and live for today.
Verse 21 is prophetic word from Jesus urging people to put God first on our lives. Jesus saw people worshipping the stuff God created rather than the God who has created everything. Worshipping gods we have created for ourselves was an issue in the Hebrew Scriptures: But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. -Joshua 24:15 Worshipping gods instead of God remains an issue today: football teams, professional golfers, houses, cars, 401K accounts, clothes, gadgets, kids, sex, etc... Jesus emphasizes the foolishness of worshipping temporary things and not a permanent God.
A - Application

It is nearly impossible to live in the United States and not be bombarded by messages of how possessions, goods, and services will give us happiness in life. This is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. It is also contrary to our human experience. Money, possessions, and power and are kind of like drinking salt water: the more we drink the thirstier we become. Not a single person will find contentment in stuff.
The application for this parable is that I will not worship the stuff God has created. Instead I will worship God who has created the world and I will be a good steward of and share what I have been temporarily entrusted with.

P - Prayer
God, thank you for blessing me with a house to live in, a car to drive, food to eat, and resources to enjoy life. At the same time, I don't want any of these things to get in the way of my relationship with you. Help me to be thankful to you, to worship you first, to be a good steward of the things in life you bless me with, and to generously and joyfully share the resources you have given me. Amen.

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