There are many things in this life that I want. It’s just my monthly paycheck doesn’t cover all this stuff. But I am thankful that God has given me a job right now that provides what I need to take care of my wife and I. He has given me a job that allows me to get through seminary and support the church and do ministry overseas. My wife will tell you that I don’t like my job. It’s hard to say anything good about a job that saw my college degree as useless; however, God has placed me at this job, and for that I am thankful.
This year my wife and I have friends who will be moving next month. We’ve already helped one of our young and married couple friends move some stuff into storage. In their storage unit, they had furniture, a piano, and boxes of stuff filling the entire 40×15 space. I told Nick who was helping us move our friend that I didn’t think my stuff could fit into that space. But when you move from one location to another you see how much you truly possess. I cannot wait to move to Kansas City to finish seminary at MBTS if the Lord wills. Probably then I’ll see how much stuff Callie and I own, which leads me in this article to expound on some Scriptures I read recently.
In Luke chapter 12:13-14 Jesus tells the parable of the “rich fool.” This is not to be confused with the parable of the rich young ruler. That story has its own spiritual principle. Before the parable, a man from the crowd asks Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Then Jesus adds, “Take care, and be on guard against all covetousness, for ones life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Notice that Jesus doesn’t say “of his many possessions” but just His possessions. This is key to understanding the parable Jesus tells in the next verses. The rich man in the parable owns land that produces abundantly and has nowhere to store it.
At the farm, my grandad tends to depend on the rain showers of April. Because if it showers in April and into May, the grass will grow high meaning hay will be in surplus for winter. But no matter how much he gets he has plenty of land to store it on. Grandpa is not rich by today’s standards, but obviously, he was much richer that this man in the parable who didn’t have a place to store his abundant supply of crops. So he decided to tear down the small barns and build bigger ones. The rich man has a plan for the overflow of crops and the lack of space to house them. Not only is there an outward issue here.
But in verse 19 the rich man says, “And I will say to my soul. “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, and be merry.” Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of the man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” And in Proverbs 27:1 it says, “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.” Colossians 3:17 reads, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” So from the parable and these Scriptures, we know that there is an inward lack of truth for those who do not acknowledge that God directs all things even the plans that we make. Apparently, the rich man was blinded by his possessions and how they could “preserve” him.
Obviously, things like water, food, and shelter are necessary for us to live. It even seems like money controls how we function because we need it to live from day to day. But it isn’t the possessions that distract him from the point of the parable. It was that he was placing his assurance in something that was perishable. He trusted that because he had “ample goods” that he would be assured life “for many years.” It’s so easy to get caught up in eating foods that are gluten free or getting your yearly checkup or on making sure you are on a good sleep schedule. One lady on the local news in my area even said that by drinking six Dr. Peppers a day was the trick that got her to live 106 years. If you have done these things or are doing these things so that you will live longer, then you are following in the footsteps of the rich man in Jesus’ parable. Exercising, eating healthy, and getting a good sleep are all good things, but we must ask ourselves, “What are we putting our trust in? Is it ample goods or God, the Creator of all goods?
We see in all of this God’s response to this rich man and us. To be clear, being rich isn’t sin but disobeying God’s instructions on how to handle being rich is sin (1 Timothy 6:17-19). God responds to the rich man by saying in Luke 12:21,”Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Right now, I encourage you to ask yourself, as a pastor once said: “Do I have my possessions or do my possessions have me.” More important than having stuff is knowing our God who knows and sees all, including the state of our soul.