This week we looked at a parable Jesus told in Luke 12:15-21 about the man who has a huge crop and decided to build bigger barns to contain it. He then plans to indulge himself but God calls him a fool. Jesus starts by warning against greed. There is more to a person’s life than what you have or can get. Greed consumes a person and becomes an end in itself. In this parable the man continually refers to me, my or I. We see clearly what he thinks about. The Bible doesn’t teach that wealth and possessions are evil. That’s not the point of this parable. It’s our attitude toward them and how we use them that is the stumbling block.
The parable says the ground produced a good crop. Jesus is emphasising that everything is God’s. We are simply to be good stewards of what He gives us. What is missing from this man is any sense of thankfulness to God. The rich man doesn’t acknowledge God at all as he looks at his abundance. He doesn’t thank God for the blessing he has been given. The next thing is there is no seeking direction from God for what he should do with the excess. In this man’s mind what he had was his and his alone. He says whatshallIdo, not, what does God want me to do. He decides to build bigger barns to store it. He doesn’t consider anything other than just keeping it for himself.
Having savings, putting money aside for future projects or even for a rainy day are not in themselves wrong. It is wise stewardship of what God has given you as long as God isn’t telling you to do differently. If God has given you money and told you to keep it for the future and you spend it or even give it away, that’s just as bad as hoarding money that God has said to use or to give. The important part in this is to continually remind ourselves that it is God who gives to us, to be thankful to Him and to seek His will.
This man expresses no desire or obligation to help others with his excess. It’s not as if he has to give out of what he needs to live on. This is an abundance, an amount he can’t even store without building extra. When I was looking at this parable, I thought of the difference between this man and Boaz in the book of Ruth. Boaz was a man who had his heart right with God. He saw Ruth’s need and had a heart of mercy that showed itself in practical, compassionate help. He wasn’t trying to hoard up everything he had, he looked out for others and helped them.
The man in the parable wants to indulge himself. He wants to take life easy, enjoy himself. Again, don’t take this the wrong way. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying what you have, particularly things you have worked hard to get. It’s not wrong to take life easy at times and relax and rest. God created us so that we need to take time to rest, to refresh, to enjoy life but He didn’t create us to just indulge every earthly desire, which is what this man intended to do. Enjoyment, satisfaction comes from doing the will of God.
The man in the parable had short sighted vision. He had far more than he needed but putting his entire confidence in it was foolish. What he had could easily be destroyed by fire, by pests, by thieves. Security is not found in what we possess. See 1 Timothy 6:17–19.The Bible certainly doesn’t prohibit riches, but it has strong warnings against having the wrong attitude of heart, against trusting in riches instead of God.
We are to be rich toward God. We may have earthly riches or we may not, but what is important is our spiritual life. If we are rich toward God then other things will take their right priority. In the end what we have here will pass away. Work hard but don’t make what you get your goal. Seek God’s will above all else. Listen to Him, don’t be swayed by what the world or even those around you, see as important. Use what God entrusts to you as He wants you to use it. Save and give, rest and work, enjoy the good things God gives but be willing to sacrifice. If your heart is set on Him then everything else will be in the right perspective.