The Rich Fool

SCRIPTURE: Luke 12:13-21, NASB

13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”
14 But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”
15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive.
17 “And he began reasonsing to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: 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 many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”‘
[NLT: “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”]


Jesus is teaching on principles of the Kingdom: integrity, overcoming fear, public confession of faith and blaspheming against the Holy Spirit and right in the middle of His teaching session, a man rudely interupts with this request…“Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” Wow! What a self-centered jerk! It would be like someone interupting this sermon with some trivial complaint; very rude and very selfish.


Jesus knew immediately what this man’s problem was, why even we would know: he was suffering from greed. Jesus knowing that he and many others had the same malady, told a story about a greedy fool. This is an amazing story.



Verse 15 in NLT reads, “Life is not measured by how much you own.” NKJV,  “For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Unfortunately, most folks have the same philosophy as this fool, they are convinced that life consist in the abundance of things one posessess. We really do measure people by how much they own. When we talk about a mans worth, we talk in terms of dollars and sent; he is worth 36 million. We pay special attention to the rich.  Mother Teresa, a missionary who had given her entire life to serving others died the same day as Princess Diana. What do you think captured the front page and the evening news. Nothing was said of Mother Teresa. {Sept. 5, 1997] C.S. Lewis died on November 22, 1963 but you didn’t hear anything about it because that is the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I’m telling you folks, the world is under the illusion that wealth produces happiness and success. The world believes that life does consist in the abundance of things one possesses. The world is playing the fool.


Jesus enables us to get into his mind, look at what this fool was thinking to himself. 

‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my {ego} crops?’  “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my {ego} barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my {ego} grain and my {ego} goods.
‘And I will say to my {ego} soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘
The Greek word for “My” is ego. so you can see by reading the text, this man was an ego-maniac. In today’s culture, it is known as NPD, Narcississtic Personality Disorder. Simply stated, it is a person who is in love with themself. According to the Mayo Clinic, the four primary symptoms are: [1] An inflated sense of their own importance, [2] A deep need for admiration, [3] A lack of empathy for others and [4] Overly sensitive to the slightest criticism. Notice all the I’s and My’s in his thinking.


A school teacher was teaching her students about Possessive Pronouns: she wrote some on the board…My…Our…Your…Their…and said, “What kind of pronouns are these? A little boy said, “Agressive.” He was close. The fool used a lot of agressive pronouns. I wonder….
  • Was this fool married?
  • Did he have children? Parents?
  • Surely, he did not have grandkids!

I am bad to talk about my grand children. They just have a way of getting into the conversation. This fool thinks of no one other than himself. Not to think of others is one thing but notice: He never thinks about God. He does not recognize God at all. He does not even thank Him for the abundant harvest.

This makes him a practical atheist which makes him a fool for the fool says to himself, “There is no God.” {Psalms 14:1}

So he is a fool because he thinks like a fool


Note the Problem: Just study this fools plans and I think you will be in full agreement with Jesus. He is going to harvest a bumper crop. His problem is that he does not have enough storage for the harvest. It is more than he has ever made and he does not have the space to store all the grain.

His Plan: He is going to hire a construction firm to tear down the old barns and built new ones in their place so he can keep all his grain to himself. What’s wrong with his plan? It is stupid. He is going to spend money tearing down old barns and spend money building new barns to horde his grain. Think about it for a moment. What if he keeps his own barns and gives the extra grain to the church or to the poor. Wouldn’t that actually save him money?

Building one additional barn would be better than tearing down the old and building all new barns but the best plan, and the most profitable is to give the excess away and fill your existing barns. But this fool is consumed by GREED and he cannot consider giving anything away. He cannot process the thought. Greedy people don’t see giving as an option.

Not only was his plan to keep all his wealth for himself foolish. What really made him a fool was he planned to live but he made no plans to die.


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