“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of his 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 all 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.’” – Luke 12:15-21
The comedian Jack Benny once did a skit on TV to show how people place money above everything, even life. In the skit, he is walking along the street when he is accosted by an armed robber. The robber demands, “Your money or your life!” Jack paused for quite a while; the confused and impatient robber inquired, “Well?” and the comedian replied, “Don’t rush me, I’m thinking it over.”
In the above text, Jesus tells a story or a parable about a man who had been quite successful. This parable is referred to as the parable about the rich fool.
The farmer in the story had been quite successful. His fields had produced a bountiful crop. Consequentially he made a decision to tear down his old barn and build a bigger barn to store his goods and then lay back and enjoy the best of life.
Jesus referred to this man as a fool. Why did he do that? The farmer was a fool because he did not realize that the outcome of his life was not in his hand.
In his success, he did not think about God who had given him his success or about helping the poor. He thought only about himself.
Often in our world today, we see successful people, entertainers, athletes and business people buying all kinds of things with their wealth. They are quite extravagant with their money, buying cars, houses and numerous unnecessary toys. They do this while people around them starve.
It troubles me that so many successful people allow their family members to go hungry and without, while they squander their money or wealth. They are indifferent towards members of their family and the poor, just because they have been successful.
God gives some of us a little more so that we can help others, especially our family members and the poor. Granted, some family members do not manage their meager earnings properly. Notwithstanding this, we should not judge them. As better managers, we should assist them.
The wealth that we accumulate is for sharing. We should not use it to destroy or dehumanize those around us, nor should we be selfish like the farmer in the story.
The things of this life are not the end. Jesus tells us that “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”. It is how he serves God, by being a good steward of the things God has given him.
Life can be better spent and enjoyed when we share our wealth with the people around us, especially our family members. There is no reason why our family should go without when we are wealthy. We should never neglect assisting our family or the poor.
The parable suggests that in our accomplishments we should place God at the center. He is the author of life. God gives good things to us and he can take them away. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau,119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N-4794, Nassau, Bahamas; telephone 426-9084; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or website www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.