Tucked away in chapter 12 of Luke is the parable of a rich landowner whose fields had, one season, produced a crop far beyond expectation. What to do? What to do? It looked to be the mother of banner years. His barns and storage facilities already at or beyond capacity, he was in somewhat of a pickle. You might think a bright young man such as he would have mapped out a detailed business plan covering the bases with a contingency for every conceivable situation when he first started his enterprise, but who would have imagined?
The truth is, beyond the six verses making up this parable, we know very little about this man. But given a face-value reading of the assessment Jesus provides for us concerning him (v.17–19), we learn these two things: One, he was full of himself, a greedy old toad, if you will — a Scrooge-like character; and two, before the sun rises, he will be dead (v.20). How tragic. Listen to Jesus tell the story:
…“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
As Believers, we sometimes forget we are stewards, not owners, and it is so important for us to guard against allowing the things we can possess to possess us. Such proved a fatal error that may well have played a role in this wealthy land owner’s unfortunate death, and one that will attack your health as well, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Jesus referred to this man as a “fool.” He didn’t need all that. Do you? Have you been given much? More than you need? Could you get by with less? If you are like most, over the course of a year’s time, we send a week’s supply of groceries down the garbage disposal or out to the street for waste management to pick up. A lot of us spend a week’s pay on lottery tickets, or other such unnecessary activities and vices. Come on now, let’s be real.
Most us could get by on less, and all of us would live much better, healthier, happier lives if we would concentrate more on giving and less on getting. Begin now to make the kingdom of God and his righteousness priority one and see if that doesn’t turn out to be a major game changer in your life. It has been for me.