The Parable of the Rich Fool a familiar story found in the book of Luke. A farmer is so successful that he can’t fit all the harvest into his barns. He decides to build bigger barns, but that night he dies before he can.
Here’s the thing, when I first heard the story, I didn’t recognize myself as the wealthy farmer. I wasn’t a rich man. Maybe you had a similar reaction.
Unlike most parables, this has only one character. You hear only the wealthy farmer’s thoughts and, of course, his analysis of the situation. Consider what he says to himself?
- “Oh, wow! What a great harvest! Damn I’m good.” (Paraphrasing here.)
- “But I’ve got a problem. My barns are full.”
- “I should build a bigger barn. Then I will be set for life.”
Consider what he doesn’t say.
- “Thank you” to God for the soil, the seed, the sun, and the rain.
- Appreciation for the many people under his employ who tended and harvested the crops.
- A prayer asking for guidance on how his wealth might best be spent.
- Any inclination to help others who might be less fortunate.
Note: Jesus does not criticize the farmer for being successful or even for having wealth. His sin is treasuring the harvest at the expense of others. “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God” (Luke 12:21, The MESSAGE//REMIX).
The man in the parable is a successful farmer. What makes him a fool? I can think of three good reasons.
- He believes that things brings happiness.
- He believes his success is because of his efforts alone. He earned what he got, so why should he share it?
- He thinks he can shape the future. “Tomorrow I will….”
Now think about this, when you woke up this morning, how did you approach the day? Did you consider today the latest in a long string of days to come? Did you assume, like the farmer, that spread before you was all the time you would ever need? How might such an attitude affect the way you live your life.
Maybe it’s time for you to inventory your barn. If you don’t have a barn, inventory your home, your closets, your garage, and maybe your latest bank statement. How much of this stuff is actually yours? How much belongs to God? How might you share some of this abundance with others who have less?
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