The Rich Fool

Scripture Text: Luke 12:13-21

13 Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” 
14Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” 
15 Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” 
16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 
17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 
18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 
19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 
21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” 

INTRODUCTION

Luke 12 begins with Jesus teaching the multitudes. The crowd has grown into thousands, so much so, that they are stepping on one another. Worse than an Alanta Braves game on the 4th of July. Jesus is teaching on the integrity, judgment, stewardship, profession of faith and persecution when suddenly, from the crowd, He is rudely interupted by a man who is unhappy with the way his families inheritance has been settled.


This man wanted to make Jesus an arbitrator of the will, a judge to decide a fair settlement. Immediately Jesus senses the man’s greed and he tells the story of the rich fool to illustrate how foolish it is for us to put too much stock into earthly treasures.


We refer to this story as the Parable of the Rich Fool because it was God who called him a fool [v.20] and God knows a fool when He sees one. We can fool some of the people some of the time but we can never fool God. No one ever fooled Jesus because He could see our hearts.

There are at least THREE REASONS God called this man a fool…

I. FIRST OF ALL: HE THOUGHT LIKE A FOOL

Jesus enables us to get into his mind: He allows us to see the man’s thoughts. This is something that is normally hidden from us. Look at what the man thinks about and better still, what he does not think about.

Look again at verses…17-19

He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’ 
  • This man is what we would call an ego maniac…He thinks of no one other than himself. 
  • Today we call this egotism a sickness…Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Notice also what he does not think about…
    • God
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Children or grandchildren

No wonder God labeled him a fool…

II. HE LIVED LIKE A FOOL [just look at his plans]

  • Solomon said–Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. [Proverbs 27:1]
  • Jesus said–So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. [Matt. 6:34]
  • James said–How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like a vapor—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”  Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil

Any man is a fool who leaves God out of his plans.

Now, consider this fools plan–‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 

  • What motivates this plan is his greed: He wants to get on he can, can all he gets and then sit on the lid so no one can get anything.
  • He is attempting to keep everything for himself
  • It is going to cost him money to tear down his old barns and more money to build new barns. The fool is blinded by his own greed.
  • Get out your pencil and paper and do the math, would it not have saved him money to have filled all his barns and gave the rest away. [Would have been the best thing]
  • Even so, it would have been better economically just to build a few extra barns but he doesn’t think because he is blinded by greed.
  • Jim Elliott: He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.
  • C.S. Lewis–Nothing becomes permanently ours until we first give it away.
  • Jesus said–“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
  • Hoarding is foolish: The earth is the LORDs and the fullness thereof…You are not going to keep your house, farm, toys, etc.

III. HE DIED LIKE A FOOL

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” 
  • We are not  prepared to live until we are prepared to die. This fool made no preparation for death.
  • There are at least two Greek words that are translated fool: [1] aphrōn[found here in v. 20] without reason, senseless, foolish, stupid, without reflection or intelligence, acting rashly. [2] But the word Jesus used most in reference to a fool is mōros from which we get the word moron. For example, the man who build his house on sand, Jesus called him a moron. In Matthew 23, He called the Pharisees morons twice and He also refers to the foolish virgins in Matthew 25 as morons.
  • Folks it is senseless, foolish, stupid and yes even moronic to make preparations to live and not to make any for death.

CONCLUSION

[Story of Herbert Harris]

 

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