The Parable of the Rich Fool
“Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’
And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ ‘But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Jesus told this parable in response to a man asking Jesus for something he needs. Jesus is so smart -- he actually tells this story to reveal the deep down thing this man was really asking Jesus for. By doing this, Jesus is guiding the man to focus less on himself and remember who the Giver is.
Asking God for things in a greedy way shows that we are forgetting who God is. Jesus uses this parable to expose greed and selfishness. This parable is a gentle reminder for each of us to remember who God is and helps us prepare our hearts to treasure receiving the eternal gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection by turning away from selfish thoughts and actions.
As with the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us how important it is to operate in our heavenly identity. After telling this parable, Jesus added, “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more...What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.” (Luke 12:22-24, 29-32, The Message)
What are things you regularly pray and ask God for? Take a minute to think deeply and figure out what you are really asking for.
Decorate a small cardboard bank to save money to give to others by cutting out magazine pictures of things people need -- food, clothing, shelter, love. Then glue them onto the bank. Discuss different places where you might give the money you save -- buy an animal, give to Sunday School offering project, donate to food bank, etc. You can use any small container that closes and just add a slit for the money.
Dear Jesus, You are so good and have blessed me so much. Help me not to be selfish and greedy, but to treasure receiving the eternal gift of your death and resurrection. Help me to live generously and turn away from selfish thoughts and actions. Make it clear how I can honor you by giving things I would normally want to keep for myself to someone else today.