Luke 12 v 20. “But God said to him, ‘Your fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
So, this rich farmer in the parable had a problem. He had huge amounts of excess (12 v 17). His problem was what to do with it all? He decided to store it all. To do this he had to tear down his property and build bigger ones.
We have surely all heard of fabulously wealthy people who could never spend all their money in their lifetime. To be sure there are some super rich people who have given freely to charities and one does not want to down-play their generosity. But even so their fame, status and identity may be rooted in their wealth.
The man Jesus refers to made a big mistake. He thought he would enjoy his wealth for many years to come. In his parable, Jesus depicts God speaking to this man saying: “You fool”. A ‘fool’ in biblical terms is not the same as being “stupid”, but rather someone who is self-focussed, reckless and unwilling to listen to reason. It is someone who behaves in a senseless manner.
The man, Jesus depicts, is a fool because he made the grievous mistake of forgetting that his physical life is only lent to him. It can be taken back at any time and was in fact going to be demanded that very night. When his life was taken from him it would be seen that he had made two errors in judgement. The first is that he would never enjoy his wealth and that it would fall into other people’s hands. The second is he was not rich toward God. This simply means that he had no thought of God, no relationship with him and used none of his vast resources for God’s interests. In other words, he was lost.
This teaches us that if we are given material wealth in this life it is not merely to maintain a certain standard of living for ourselves but it is intended that we use it in order to become rich toward God. That means we invest in God’s eternal Kingdom and in that way turn material and earthly interests into eternal riches.
To be wealthy and to live for oneself is not only to disclose our covetousness and stinginess but it also indicates what we think our life “consisted of”. No thought for soul or death, or eternity. Our covetousness deprives us of the only riches ultimately worth having.
“You fool!” What solemn words for God to speak to a man.
May they never be spoken to us.