I don’t suppose anyone would like to be called a fool, but think about how painful it would be to have God call you a fool. Just such happened in on of the parables of Jesus. Jesus spake a parable saying, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21).
My friends, it is foolish to leave God out of the equation when giving credit for your riches. It is certainly true that one must put forth personal effort to accumulate wealth. Generally, those who accumulate the most are those who have worked the hardest and the smartest. However, never leave God out of the equation. It is God who has provided us with the physical and mental ability to provide for ourselves and to reach our goals in life. The rich man is this parable seemed to place all his success upon his own activities. In fact, he looked no where but to self for his achievements or his future. Notice how many times he used the pronouns “I” and “my”.
It is foolish to leave your fellow man out of the equation when considering what to do with your wealth. This man never considered those that might be in need, but thought only of building up more and more for self. Paul told Timothy to, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be hot high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim. 6:17-19).
It is indeed foolish to ignore the brevity of life. The rich man had great plans for the future, but without any consideration that he may well not have a future in this life. James writes, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:13-15). Solomon said, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). You may make all the plans for your future on earth that you want, but be aware that we know not when our life on this earth shall expire. Not only do we not know when we will die, but likewise we know not when the Lord will return. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Peter said that, “…the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10).
Friend, it is foolish indeed to put one’s trust in the physical treasures of this life. Jesus tells of a rich young ruler who came to Him wishing to know what to do in order to have eternal life (Mark 10:17). After acknowledging that he was a keeper of the old law of Moses, Jesus instructed him to go and sell all that he had, give it to the poor and then follow Him (Mark 10:21). Many have questioned the severity of this command, but the problem is clearly seen when Jesus explains, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24). The rich young ruler’s problem was he was trusting in his riches. The material things of this life can and will fail us. Peter said, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (I Pet. 1:24). As the rich man in our parable was told, “…this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou has provided” (Luke 12:20). They will no longer belong to the rich man, that’s for sure! As Paul told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:7). There is an old saying, “you have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul”.
The greatest lesson we can learn from this parable is that our priorities need to be in order. It is far more important that we serve God faithfully than that we are materially successful in this life. When this life is over, we shall not be judged by how much we have gathered into our barns, but by how we have served God. It is a fool that thinks they have a lease on life, paying no attention to preparing for the judgment. We need to remember that the judgment is sure, heaven is wonderful and that hell is eternal damnation. Don’t be a fool, live for Christ. (Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.