By Emma Danzey, Crosswalk.com
As we look at the parables of Jesus, many times we see Him getting to the heart of various matters. One of the most common themes that He teaches on is do we put our treasures here or in heaven? In fact, Jesus Film shares, “Jesus typically taught in parables—and 11 of His 40 parables were about money or used money as a way to teach us spiritual truths.” As we look closer into the parable of the rich fool, may we examine our own hearts today.
Luke 12:16-21 teaches us that there was man of great wealth and abundance. In fact, he had so many crops, that he decided to tear down his barns and build even bigger ones. In verse 19 that man thought, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” However in verse 20 we see God call the man a fool because he would die that night and not take any of his earthly abundance with him. Jesus ends the parable saying, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
This might seem harsh; it seems like the man received a lot of crops and just wanted to store them up so they did not go to waste. Why was God unhappy with his decision? How can we learn from this rich fool?
1. Reframe Our Priorities
Being wealthy is not a sin. However, it is harder to accept Jesus when you think that you have everything that you could ever need, like this man. Matthew 19:24 says, “And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Maybe you do not think of yourself as wealthy. However, if you have been entrusted with many good gifts, even if you do not have the fanciest life, you likely have more than many people around the world. Comparison can cause us to skip over this passage if we are not in the top tax bracket.
First things first, we need to reframe our priorities. Keeping Jesus first, loving Him with all of our hearts, helps everything else to fall into place. We can thrive in life when we have that priority correct. Because if we love Him and worship Him, we will not make idols.
The rich fool made an idol out of self-reliance, material things, and his image. He cared more about storing excess than thinking creatively as to how God may have blessed him so that he could give generously to others. He thought more about constructing larger barns than being grateful and content with what he currently had. He seems to value image and continual increase of property. Jesus simply answers that you can be rich in the world, but be poor in God. However, everyone has the opportunity to be rich in Christ with a wealth that will never perish.
2. What Is Our Life Goal?
The rich fool’s goal was to “take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.” This is not to say for example that retirement is a bad thing, but how we use our time and money matters. If our goal is comfort, food, drink, and happiness, we miss the greater gift that is Jesus. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
All Christ followers are headed for heaven. We can either leave behind the material things that once brought us happiness, or take the eternal kingdom acts with us to Jesus. If the Lord has gifted you with abundance in a certain area of life, how are you using it to further His message of the gospel? How are you creating boundaries to not become covetous or prideful? May we use all of our resources to glorify the Lord.
3. What Barns Are We Trying to Build Bigger?
Is there something that comes to your mind as a “barn” that you are trying to build bigger? Has the Lord given you more than enough, but you are getting greedy in desiring more? Maybe it is a business. Perhaps it is your home. It could even be the desire to keep having more and more children even though it is not a wise move for your family. Is it the shoes in your closet? Is it the amount of money you are willing to spend on football tickets? Could it be that you have a certain number of followers on social media, but keep wanting more? Your barn could even be the number of attendees at your church or event.
Whatever your barn is, lay it down before God today. Ask Him to reveal gratitude for what He has provided and convict your heart in the ways you have idolized control and excess. When our focus is on our barns, we miss the beauty of Jesus. We start to build our temporary kingdoms instead of the Lord’s everlasting kingdom.
We can each act like the rich fool at times. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the “have it all” mentality of our culture today. However, when we have Jesus, we already have it all. We can fight against this mindset of the fool by reframing our priorities, remembering our life goal, and surrendering the barns that we try to build. May we take this day and every day to focus our hearts on the First and most important Treasure – Jesus. Everything else will not compare. Whether our barns are small or large, the foundation of our identity will be grounded in Christ.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon
Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com