Luke 12:13-21 [1 Timothy 6:6–10]
To explain this teaching on possessions, Jesus told a parable about a rich man who continued to build bigger and bigger barns to store all his grain and goods. The farmer had worked hard and overcame all the obstacles and obtained success. A new possibility presented itself, “What do you do with all your excess productivity?"
Possessions are dangerous because they can possess us. This danger is especially true for the man who is not aware that his bumper crop or his riches are a gift from God. He may have thought that riches came from his hard work alone and not realize that God might have a greater purpose for it then simply storing up abundance.
In verse 17 the abundance of the rich man’s harvest causes him to reflect on how he can keep even more of it for himself. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’"
The man is blessed with abundance and he responds with self-congratulations and conversations with himself. Family, neighbors, and even God are all absent from his plans. The man believes that what he has is his and he can do with it just as he pleases. There is no hint of an awareness of stewardship or responsibility to God, His work or others.
Verse 18 demonstrates the greedy selfishness of the wealthy man. “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.'"
There is nothing wrong with preparing for the future or enjoying the fruit of all our hard work, but there is much wrong with selfishness. Although he already possesses more than enough, he can think only of himself. This man determined to live a life of self-indulgent greed.
In verse 19 the foolish man imagines that his eternal soul can be satisfied with earthly food and drink. "And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.'”
After the rich man has hoarded his plenty he relaxes thinking his troubles are over. His attitude was that he would have an easy life because he had everything he could possibly want or need. He does not sense any responsibility toward anyone else but himself, certainly there is no consideration of what God would have him do.
He thinks that he will soon make his appearance on the TV show “The Rich and Famous.” God though has plans to test someone else with all this stuff.
Cecil Rhodes, was wealthy beyond description. Through some shrewd but ruthless business dealings, he made a killing on diamond and gold mines in South Africa, during the early 1900's. He was living proof that “you can have it all.” Or was he? As he lay moaning on his deathbed, this unbelievably affluent man said, "I've found much in Africa - diamonds, gold, and land are mine- but now I must leave them all behind. Not a thing I've gained can be taken with me. Eternal treasures that abide I have not sought; therefore I actually have nothing at all."
That's a poor man talking. Spiritually speaking, Cecil Rhodes, and anyone who fails to gain the riches of God through faith in Christ, will die penniless. Like the rich fool in Jesus' parable, we end life bankrupt if we are not rich toward God. Money may enable us to buy fancy cars and great homes, but it can't buy the peace that comes through trusting God.
Jesus indicates that we should use our energy to set aside treasures for eternity. We do that when we love others, stay in fellowship with God, and give of ourselves unselfishly. Don't spend your life searching for the almighty dollar, only to discover at the end that true riches come from trusting Jesus Christ.
We’ll continue this thought tomorrow.