And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”–Luke 12:16-21 ESV
I would like to focus on a few things in this story. First, we need to identify what the error in the story is. The farmer has planted his crops and they have produced more than he was planning. This was not his error. Nor was his error in storing the excess.
What then is the error? I think the error begins in the next two points.
Reread the parable and count the first person pronouns. I count 11 uses of 'I' or 'my'.
"I will do this...I will...my crops...my goods...my soul."
It never seems to occur to him that others might need his excess. He never looks outside of himself. Not only, does he not think of others, he never thinks to thank God for 'his' abundance.
This mistake leads to his second mistake. "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." He is not foolish because he makes plans for the future. His foolishness lies in the belief that his abundance secures his future.
This is where the parable hits home. We are lulled into the belief that our security comes from what we have and what we have planned. We invest in our future. Again, the issue wasn't that he prepared for the future, the issue was that he placed his trust in the temporal.
One commentator writes, "The farmer is called 'fool' because of neither his wealth nor ambition but rather because he accords finite things infinite value."
What are the things of infinite value?
Let us end with a quote from author David Lose, "Only as we recognize that the gifts of ultimate worth, dignity, meaning, and relationship are just that - gifts offered freely by God - can we hope to place our relative wealth in perspective and be generous with it toward others."
May we rightly place trust in the one true God and thus be generous as He has been generous.