Giving? Or Accumulating?
NINETEENTH IN MY TEACHING SERIES ON THE PARABLES OF JESUS
The Parable Of The Rich Fool
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21 NIV
Guard Against Greed
The key to understanding this parable is found in verse 15 in this scripture: “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Jesus says this to the man who asked Him to arbitrate between him and his brother. In Bible times, the firstborn was guaranteed a double portion of the family inheritance. More than likely, the brother who was addressing Jesus was not the firstborn and was asking for an equal share of the inheritance, of which he knew he was not entitled. Jesus refuses to arbitrate their dispute and gets to the heart of the matter: Greed! Jesus warns this person, and all who heard Him, that our lives are not to be about gathering wealth. Life is so much more than the “abundance of possessions.”
In Jesus parable, this person was materially blessed by God, as indicated when Jesus said, “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.” As God continued to bless the man, instead of using his increase to further the will of God, all he was interested in was managing his increase and accumulating even more wealth for himself. So the man builds larger barns in place of the existing ones and starts planning an early retirement. Unbeknownst to him, this was his last night on planet earth.
Giving, Not Accumulating
We are not to devote our lives to the gathering and accumulation of wealth. You see it all the time in people who are singularly devoted to the accumulation of wealth. What happens to all that wealth when they die? It gets left behind to others who didn’t earn it and won’t appreciate it. Furthermore, if money is your master, that means God is not
The second point of this parable is the fact that we are not blessed by God to hoard our wealth to ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing in the lives of others, and we are blessed to build the kingdom of God. The Bible says in Psalm 62:10, if our riches increase, we are not to set our hearts upon them. Proverbs 11:24 also says there is one who gives freely and grows all the richer. Finally, the Bible says we are to honor God with the first fruits of our increase.
If we honor God with what He has given us, He will bless us with more so that we can honor Him with more!
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