The Parable of the Rich Fool.

September 4, 2020 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: The Parables of Jesus

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Luke 12:13–21

Luke 12:13-21 "Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." (14) But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?" (15) And he said to them, "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (16) And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, (17) and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' (18) And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. (19) And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."' (20) But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' (21) So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

One of the many things that we have learned during this Coronavirus, is that our security is not to be found in material things. Only Christ is sufficient for all our needs. Many people have lost their jobs or have had their salaries cut in half or more...forcing us to realise how temporary and foolish it is to put our faith and trust in anything else but God.

The Apostle Paul writes to the Colossian church and explains that Covetousness is idolatry. Because you’re worshipping stuff and stuff isn't God. And when anyone worships anything that isn't the one true God you’re committing idolatry, so covetousness becomes a way that even believers are tempted to commit idolatry. And if it is not removed from the heart and from the desires and from the soul, it ruins us. So for all these reasons it's important that we allow Jesus to teach us on the issue of covetousness.

The word translated as covetousness in verse 15 (pleonexia) can also be translated as “greed,” and refers to “a strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions or to possess more things than other people have, all irrespective of need.” Notice, the sin that Jesus identifies in this passage is not wealth or possessions, but rather covetousness or greed.

Jesus is highlighting a violation of the Tenth Commandment, which states, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). The Bible also warns against covetousness in Ecclesiaistes 5:10, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.”

The reason Jesus warned against covetousness and greed is because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. This desire applies to all people, rich and poor alike. The rich are tempted to want even more of what they already have, while the poor are tempted to want things they do not have.  Every one of us needs to be on guard against covetousness in our hearts. Covetousness is a greedy desire for the things of this world. It is an excessive love of the world. 

Discussion Questions

1. Is it wrong to seek to improve my financial condition? What about wanting to get rich? Give biblical support.

2. How much is enough? At what point do we violate Jesus’ point about not laying up treasure for ourselves?

3. How can we be on guard against all greed? Is all luxury wrong? How do we define luxury in light of the world’s poor?

4. Are things like insurance and investments opposed to trusting in God and seeking first His kingdom? Give biblical support.

More in The Parables of Jesus

November 27, 2020

Parable of the Wicked Tenants.

November 20, 2020

The Parable of the Ten Minas.

November 13, 2020

The Reason for the Parable.